During a visit to Lubbock's Montelongo's Restaurant on Tuesday, March 2nd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott made an important statewide announcement.

During the speech, Governor Abbott announced that all businesses in the state would be allowed to open at 100 percent capacity. Effective Wednesday, March 10th, 2021, all businesses of any type are cleared to open to their full capacity.

Along with this, the governor ended the statewide mask mandate for the state. However, businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols as they see fit.

Governor Abbott said:

With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus. We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed. Today's announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.

The governor noted the rapid increase in COVID-19 vaccinations during his speech. Around 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered to Texans as of the writing of this article. By Wednesday, March 10th, around 7 million shots are projected to be administered, meaning over half of the seniors in Texas will have had a shot.

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Governor Abbott also laid out a plan if COVID-19 hospitalization percentages start going up again with the reopening of the state.

If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in the state of Texas go above 15 percent for seven straight days, a county judge in that region may use mitigation strategies. However, the judge cannot impose jail time for not following COVID-19 orders, nor may any penalties be imposed for not wearing a face mask. Restrictions also can not reduce any business capacity to below 50 percent.

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