Nearly a year after the start of the pandemic, the face mask mandate is gone. On March 2, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order to remove it, which went into effect on Wednesday.
“The mask mandate being removed puts the onus of responsibility on the individual rather than the community as a whole,” said Dr. Arthi Krishnan, a physician at the SMU Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.
Dr. Krishnan acknowledged that each person does have the right to choose to wear a face mask or not, but the executive order doesn’t mean COVID-19 shouldn’t be a concern.
“COVID has not gone away,” Dr. Krishnan said. “I think masks are still important.”
Right now, only a few people can engage without masks indoors. The CDC issued its first set of guidelines on Monday.
Now, fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear a mask or stay six feet apart when visiting others indoors that are also fully vaccinated. They can do the same with those that are unvaccinated and at low risk for severe disease. Plus, when coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19, quarantining without symptoms is not required.
“It’s a very selective group, and it’s not the majority of people that would meet the criteria to be without a mask,” said Dr. Krishnan.
Although the mask mandated is lifted, businesses can still choose to require face masks. But, mask mandate or not, COVID-19 remains far from over, and Dr. Krishnan added people can do their part in the fight against it.
“In the meantime, I think we need to continue mask-wearing, in general, as a whole, for public health well-being,” said Dr. Krishnan.
Here’s What Else Happened This Week:
- President Biden signed a 1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief bill. It includes $1,400 stimulus checks, jobless benefits, and the expansion of the Child Tax Credit. American’s could start seeing the checks reach their bank accounts over the weekend.
- Biden also addressed the nation on Thursday night. In his speech, he directed states to make vaccines available for all American adults by May 1. He also set a goal to have in-person celebrations for July 4.
- President Biden announced his plan to purchase an additional 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson.