On Wednesday March 10 Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order lifting the mask mandate and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent went into effect.
The move made national headlines and brought sharp criticism across the nation when it was announced on March 2.
Governor Abbott said, “With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus. We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed. Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”
Basically the Governor is telling Texans that they can now use their own discretion whether or not to wear mask coverings and that businesses can decide if they want to impose the wearing of face coverings in their businesses or limit capacity or open 100 percent.
Mayor Buzz Fullen said, “As you well know, we have been confined for a little over a year now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some would say we are a little anxious due to being confined for so long. The Masks, the social distancing, the lack of ability to go to Church and to just be normal has not been there. Although we seemed to have turned the corner in the Coronavirus pandemic, we must be cautious in our actions going forward to recovery.”
“Pursuant to Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code we here in the City follow all CDC Cautions and recommendations to date and follow our Governors recent edict as to the lifting of certain restrictions in the recovery process,” Mayor Fullen said.
The Mayor encourages everyone to please be safe and kind to all who choose to wear mask and to those who do not and remember to wash your hands often.
Henderson City Manager Jay Abercrombie said, “The City has followed the State’s guidance since the beginning of the pandemic. Governor Abbott has now issued Executive Order GA-34 that changes many past orders including mandates on masks and capacity within businesses. The City of Henderson’s business owners now have the ability to resume normal capacity in their respective retail establishments and restaurants as of today, Wednesday March 10, 2021. This is a welcome development for many struggling businesses across our community. “
“Also, vaccines are starting to become more available in our community and that availability looks to be increasing greatly in the coming weeks. Although these are steps in the right direction, we are far from the end of this pandemic. We continue to recommend that our residents and visitors follow the CDC guidelines and be self-responsible when it comes to face coverings and social distancing,” said Abercrombie.
According to Abercrombie all City of Henderson facilities will be opening as per the guidelines of the Executive Order including City Hall, City Annex and Utility Billing, Civic Center, Public Services Warehouse, and the Animal Center. The Municipal Court will open the lobby for payments; however Court will still remain virtual until other guidance comes from the Texas Supreme Court.
The Henderson News reached out to Rusk County Judge Joel Hale to see if the County had any comments but was told no.
However, should COVID-19 hospitalizations get above 15 percent of the hospital bed capacity in any of the 22 regions, a County Judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies but they may not impose jail time or penalties for failing to wear a mask or face covering.