Opinion: Removing mask mandate the right call

Allie+Garcia

Allie Garcia

Allie Garcia , Contributing writer

At the beginning of coronavirus, last year, around this same time when students across the country got released for Spring Break, little did we all know we would finish out the year online. 

The COVID-19 pandemic ruined many high school and college senior graduations, countless events, weddings and limited families and friends from seeing each other. The pandemic has been going on for around a year now, and numbers are steadily dropping across the country and the world.

 More importantly the rollout of multiple COVID vaccines are taking place. In my opinion the pandemic has caused a lot of pain and suffering in multiple areas of life and it is time to get back to “normal.” 

On Dec. 14, the first U.S. citizen (outside of trial patients) received a vaccine. Ever since that day, thousands of Americans have been given one if not both of their vaccinations. 

More and more Americans every day are getting vaccinated, have implemented socially distancing and established healthy habits such as sanitizing, and washing their hands to their everyday routines, to help reduce the spread of corona. The vaccine is available for any and all medical staff, adults over 65, and anyone with a previous illness that can cause the contraction of COVID to be more severe. 

Specifically, in the state of Texas according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, “more than 3.3 million people have received at least one dose, and almost 1.7 million are fully vaccinated.” 

Since the roll out of the vaccine and the numbers of coronavirus at a lower rate, Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to lift restrictions on mask wearing and building capacities to help get Texas back up and running. 

There are many people that feel that Abbott is being too ambitious and is lifting restrictions too early. However, many Texas state officials feel that he has been too slow to reopen Texas, especially compared to other GOP-led states. 

Abbott decided that restrictions were to be lifted last Wednesday. In an interview Abbott stated all the guidelines behind the lifted restrictions. The governor said that no one is “required” to wear a mask in public spaces, and that all buildings can begin to operate at 100 percent capacity. 

However, this does not mean that it is a total free-for-all. The governor stated that any person that wishes to still wear a mask is completely allowed that right. He also stated that each business has the option to still mandate mask wearing. 

While Abbott has lifted restrictions, he has still made it very clear that he supports social distancing and healthy habits. Under Abbott’s plan, businesses and persons have more freedoms to choose how to handle COVID. Abbott stated that, “each school district is to listen to the guidance given to them from the Texas Education Agency.” 

Many schools like WFISD have made the choice to still require mask wearing and schools will continue to offer online learning for students. Lastly, under Abbott’s executive order, “if COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of Texas’ 22 hospital regions rise above 15 percent of the capacity in that region for seven straight days, a county judge “may use COVID mitigation strategies in their county.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many people. The virus has caused parents not to be able to see their children’s births, caused many small businesses to hurt financially and has limited students from learning face-to-face, which can cause longterm damage in their education. 

I feel that many people see the restriction lift as a political issue when it clearly is an issue based on facts and freedoms. The executive order given by Abbott is not the first of its kind, multiple other states have done the same thing at earlier times, and have been seeing positive results, especially on the economic front. 

In my opinion the relief of restrictions will help with morale across the state of Texas, allowing more friends and families to gather, allowing small businesses to begin to make more profits and will help Texas get back up and running as it should be.