An End to The Statewide Mask Mandate | What Does it Mean?

As of March 10, 2021, Texas’ statewide mask mandate has ended per Governor Gregg Abbott. Businesses are also now allowed to operate at full capacity.  However, the lifting of these requirements is not the end of it. There are many places that are still requiring/implementing the use of a mask.

Masks Required on Federal Property

Federal government properties are considered to be sovereign.  The President has issued a mask mandate that remains in effect for all federal properties.  This includes Federal Courts, post offices, airports, and all other federal government buildings. Additionally, there is a federal mandate that masks be worn in all forms of public transportation. This includes trains, busses, airplanes, taxis, rideshares, and public water vessels. It is unclear whether this applies to people in private watercraft on lakes, rivers, and waterways—which waterways are historically considered federal property.

Local Government Functions and Masks

Whether or not masks are required in local government buildings is up to them to decide. Schools and State Universities are units of local government. They are likely to continue requiring masks for an unforeseeable period.  Schools are planning to continue requiring masks.

Private Businesses and Mask Requirements

The Governor’s order allows businesses to decide their won requirements for themselves. Many have indicated they will continue to require them and monitor the situation. Others have indicated they will be encouraged but not required.  HEB met with enough public backlash after announcing that they would not require masks that they have now indicated they will, in fact, require masks to enter the store.

A number of churches, retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores have indicated that will continue to require masks for the time being.

Can Counties/Cities Reinstate Mask Requirements?

Governor Abbott has indicated that local governments can reinstate mask mandates in the event the hospital capacity exceeds 15% with COVID patients. Thus, even though the statewide mask mandate may have been removed, it may still be brought back locally if we see another surge.

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