Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican, announced on Tuesday that he was lifting the mask mandates in his state effective tomorrow and that businesses in the state would be able to return to operating at full capacity.
“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules,” Reeves said on Twitter. “Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”
Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 2, 2021
“Executive orders that interfered with peoples’ lives were the worst, but the only possible, intervention for much of the last year,” Reeves said. “Now, we are putting our focus towards rapid vaccine distribution. We are getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do.”
“We’ve been among the 4 or 5 most open states throughout this crisis, and we’ve been rewarded for it with more jobs and economic recovery,” Reeves continued. “That’s not because what we put in place was a light burden. It’s only because the rest of the country was so harsh. That’s good, but we need to recognize that none of these orders, in any state, are anything short of unprecedented. They have to end at the earliest possible moment. This is that moment for Mississippi.”
The announcement from Reeves came shortly after Texas Governor Greg Abbott, also a Republican, announced on Tuesday afternoon that his state was ending the state’s mask mandate and would allow businesses to return to full capacity starting next week.
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbott said. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.”
“So today, I’m issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders,” Abbott said. “Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I’m ending the statewide mask mandate.”
“Today’s announcement does not abandon the safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” Abbott said. “Instead, it’s a reminder that each person has their own role to play in their own personal safety as well as in the safety of others. It’s a reminder that individual safety is managed every day as a matter of personal responsibility rather than by government mandate. Individual responsibility is a corollary to individual freedom, we can have both.”
“Texans should continue following medical advice on preventing COVID just as they do on other medical issues,” Abbott said. “That is exactly how Texans were able to deal with infectious diseases in the past, like H1N1. They followed safe practices, and they got medical treatment when it was needed.”
This report has been updated to include additional information and quotes from both governors.