Loosening COVID Restrictions in Certain States


Senior Emily Rheume

Carly Browder, Staff Writer

Right before the official year mark since COVID-19 issued an international lockdown, states have started easing up on restrictions.

According to the Office of the Texas Governor, Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas lifted the mask mandate, and increased all businesses to full capacity. In Texas, there have been nearly 5.7 million vaccinations already, and one million more each week.

According to The Texas Tribune, as of March 11, 2021, Texas has reported 2.3 million confirmed cases, and 44,106 deaths related to coronavirus.

Governor Abbott said, “With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs… We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent.”
He goes on to say that he realizes COVID-19 has not disappeared, but that Texas mandates are no longer needed to keep people safe. The opposing view argues that it’s still too early to make these calls, and it could be a public safety concern.

Along with Texas, Mississippi and South Carolina have both taken similar actions.

According to NPR News, in Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves announced on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, “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.” At least 14.1% in that state have gotten at least one dose, and 7.6% are fully vaccinated.

In South Carolina, according to WMBF News, Governor Henry McMaster rescinded mandatory face coverings in state government offices, buildings, and facilities. His justification is, “Now that the majority of South Carolinians are eligible to receive the vaccine… state agency heads may safely bring back the last group of state employees working remotely.”

Emily Rheume, a senior at James Island, said, “With the new vaccinations and more people getting them, it brings less nervousness. I also think the community needs to be attentive and considerate of others. Still practicing social distancing and wearing a mask around high risk people and elders.”

All three governors are Republicans. On the flip side, according to The New York Times, President Biden sharply criticized the governors of Texas and Mississippi for abruptly removing mask mandates.

According to The New York Times, President Biden has told the country that the coronavirus is still a serious problem and needs to be combated with a full arsenal of vaccines and precautionary measures.

As we approach the year mark of living through the coronavirus pandemic, many people see hope for the future, now that the vaccine is out. Slowly, but surely, it seems that the world will return to normal in the near future.