Big things are happening in Texas on March 10th.
Governor Greg Abbott decided Texas will abolish the mask mandate, and also lift the capacity guidelines for businesses so they can operate at 100% capacity.
I have my own ideas about this decision, but I’ll keep them to myself for another time.
I WILL say that Texas is doing this against the advice of the federal health officials — you know, the ones trying to protect everyone.
With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus.Governor Abbott
With this announcement, all businesses, as of March 10th, are allowed to open back up just like they were in pre-COVID times.
BUT, some businesses are not having anything to do with this lifting of the mask mandate.
Some retailers have decided to still require employees AND customers to wear masks if they want to shop in their stores, and as private entities they have that right.
These retailers will still hand out masks to people that walk in without a mask, and will still offer disposable masks to their employees for use at work.
Some of the retailers that have decided to keep running on a business as usual policy, ignoring the announcement by Governor Abbott, are Kroger’s grocery stores, Target, Macy’s, Aldi grocery stores, Costco, Sprouts, and Whole Foods.
Those who have been vaccinated for coronavirus are still required to wear a mask and follow all social distancing guidelines, in line with current CDC guidance.Target Spokesperson Courtesy of Insider
All of these locations, company wide, will require customers AND employees to don masks while in their stores.
There are some retail locations that are only requiring EMPLOYEES to remain masked, while simply making the “suggestion” that shoppers wear them, too.
Locations such as H.E.B., Central Market, Randalls, and Walmart are part of team partial mask mandate.
As a side note, Toyota and GM, which have plants in TX, say they will look into the Governor’s relaxed stance on the mask mandate, but they have no immediate plans to let their employees remain mask free.
Before we jump all over Texas for lifting their mask requirements, they are not the first and only to do so.
Five states — Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota — have ended, or soon will end, statewide mask mandates, despite the looming threat of COVID-19 and highly transmissible variants.ABC News
If you think that is shocking, just wait: 11 states never even had statewide mask mandates.
Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
This means, you can now — or will soon be able to — travel to 16 states, and not be bogged down by your mask if you choose not to be.
BUT, keep in mind that there are STILL places of business that will require you to wear your mask if you visit.
Bottom line — still carry a mask with you. You will probably still need it at some point.