The governor of Texas may have done away with mask mandates, but stores and schools are coming up with their own requirements once the state mandate ends.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced that it was “time to open Texas 100%” Tuesday, telling businesses and Texans that everything will be open at 100% capacity, with no masks needed in a week’s time. Abbott cited the availability of vaccines as the reason for the policy change.
Despite the governor’s decree, students in some districts are still being told to continue wearing masks after the end of the mandate on March 10, but the state has given local school boards the right to make their own rules, The Associated Press reported.
Masks, according to the Texas Education Agency, will be required in schools unless districts decide to make them optional, The Texas Tribune reported.
Click here to read the agency’s latest guidance.
Health experts still stand by findings that indicate masks prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Along with schools, some retailers will still mandate masks when entering stores, while others will encourage but not require mask-wearing.
Target will still require masks, the AP reported.
So will other stores like Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, Best Buy, Macy’s and JCPenney, CNN reported.
Kroger will require masks until all grocery store employees get vaccinated.
Walmart, Whole Foods and Costco will also require masks, KXAN reported.
Companies like Toyota and General Motors will require masks at their facilities, CNN reported.
“We will continue to enforce our COVID safety practices we’ve had in place since we returned to work last spring,” GM spokesperson Patrick Morrissey said in an email to CNN. “This will ensure we adequately protect our employees and continue to meet OSHA workplace protection standards.”
H-E-B grocery stores will encourage mask-wearing for customers but will not require it. Employees and vendors will continue to be required to wear masks. The Albertsons - Tom Thumb chains will also encourage but not mandate masks, KDFW reported.
Houston’s police department will also continue to wear masks as the city’s police chief Art Acevedo warns against what could happen when a business’ employee requests a customer to mask up.
“We can see conflict coming, sadly,” Acevedo told the AP. “And I think that a lot of this is going to be self-inflicted.”
More than 43,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Texas over the past year.
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