Greetings from Texas — land of BBQ, bluebonnets, and Matthew McConaughey and you need to check on us because we are most definitely not alright, alright, alright.
This week, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent, starting March 10th. That’s right—100% back open. Open everything. Everywhere. No masks required anywhere. Cool, cool, cool. Abbott has stated that each person can decide for themselves if they want to social distance or wear a mask at all, even while new variants are showing up across the state! Right before Superspreaderrr — I mean Spring Break! This seems sensible and not at all premature!
So, good news, Texas — you are now free to gather en masse, whoop it up in a clusterfuck, contract and pass on a deadly virus rather than suffer the mild inconvenience of caring about people or wearing a piece of cloth over your mouth BECAUSE YER LIBERTIES AND YER FREEDUMBS!
Did I miss the memo about COVID being magically eradicated? No, no I didn’t because that’s not a thing that happened. Not even close. In fact, the spread of the virus is still very much a concern, with Texas averaging well over 200 reported deaths a day over the last week. There have been 2.6 million cases of COVID reported here since the beginning of the pandemic. Less than 7% of Texans have been fully vaccinated as of this week.
BIPOC, particularly Hispanics and Texans of color, have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. But who cares about them, right — I need to go to Dave and Buster’s, pronto!
Greg Abbott says he believes Texans can regulate themselves responsibly. Really, Greg? These are the same people who claim “they ain’t gonna live in fear!” but decide they must strap up to go to the grocery store. These fools wear their gun into the H-E-B, you know, in case a coupon terrorist is in the 10-items-or-less lane with 12 blocks of Velveeta. Not on my watch, Bubba! A man accidentally shot himself right in the ballsack while in a store recently. He was fine but testicles bleed a lot, apparently. Don’t mess with Texas and don’t tread on my God-given right to neuter myself in public, y’all!
Texas, the only state where the speed limit in certain places is 85. Eighty-five! Not a typo.
Texas is also where a woman was banned from the local Walmart for riding an electric shopping cart around the store, while drinking her wine from a Pringles can. At 9 o’clock in the morning. Okay, never mind; that’s a bad example — that woman is clearly goals.
Could this announcement have anything to do with the recent winter weather crisis that left millions of Texans freezing in the dark for days, exposing deep flaws in Texas’ deregulated power-grid shit-show? This decision is an attempted distraction from Abbott’s abysmal failures, not to mention “Cancun Cruz” — Ted’s embarrassing attempt to abandon his constituents and slither off to Mexico during the worst of the crisis. Some people still don’t have water or power, but hey, you don’t have to wear that silly mask while you line up for food and water! Thanks, Gov!
Abbott cites our COVID numbers going down, but fails to mention the true number has been difficult to measure in the last weeks because oh, I dunno, WE HAD NO ELECTRICITY, WATER OR COVID TESTING FACILITIES OPEN, HELLOOO (screams into a cold pillow). This makes absolutely no sense, no matter how you look at it.
Prior to the announcement to lift restrictions, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, along with other Democratic mayors, sent a letter to Abbott asking him to keep the mask mandate in place, stating they believed it was too soon to lift it, extraordinarily dangerous, and ultimately harmful to the progress Texans have made on slowing the spread. Their logical and very real concerns were, of course, ignored.
Former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a rumored Abbott challenger for governor in 2022, took it a step further by stating in a tweet that this decision is a death warrant for Texans, and that Greg Abbott is “killing the people of Texas.” Damn. Go off, king!
Luckily, there are a growing number of Texas restaurants and businesses that disagree with Abbott’s dangerous, misguided announcement and plan to keep their safety measures in place. I, and many others, were so glad to see it. While I feel for the businesses affected (our small business being one), I know it is not time to loosen restrictions and definitely not the time to forego masks. We are not there yet. Thank goodness the majority of thoughtful Texans will continue to follow the science, not the agenda of the governor. They will continue to follow the CDC guidelines regarding safety protocols by limiting patron capacity, mask-wearing, digital menus, and providing hand sanitizing stations. By following these steps, wearing masks, and waiting until most Texans are vaccinated, we can finally, maybe, all of us, be alright alright alright.
Especially if we get a new governor in 2022.