Coronavirus in US: Masks no longer compulsory in Texas despite warnings
The latest announcements come as President Joe Biden's administration insists on not dropping the measures such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing to avoid the novel coronavirus
Texas on Tuesday lifted a state mask mandate as the governor called for opening the state "100 per cent".
Texas Governor Greg Abbott was criticised by fellow Republicans for making masks compulsory in the state last July. His latest announcements come as President Joe Biden's administration insists on not dropping the measures such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing to avoid the novel coronavirus.
In a speech, Abbott said that for about half a year businesses have been open up to 75 per cent, which caused many small players to "struggle to pay their bills".
"This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 per cent," the Texas governor said while addressing the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce amid cheers and applause.
"Every business that wants to be open should be open."
He said the restrictions have been lifted because of the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, and since now they have better testing and treatment.
"Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus," Abbott said.
The move by the Republican governor comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned states to not drop the guard of stopping the spread of Covid-19.
"I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19," Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
"Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of Covid-19," the director said, adding: "Continue wearing your well-fitted mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work."
Over 43,000 people have died in Texas due to Covid-19, making the state the third-worst in the US.
Texas's death toll and infection rate are still amongst the highest in the country.