Texas Independence Day is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. With this document signed by delegates, settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas. It remained a Republic until1845.
On March 2, 2021 Governor Greg Abbot declared another type of independence for Texans by lifting the state-wide mandatory mask requirement and opening all businesses to 100% capacity. It will be up to businesses whether to require masks for customers and employees; the governor urged “personal vigilance” as he pointed to the arrival of vaccines and good Texas economy as reasons for his decision. He tightened control over Covid restrictions by mandating that county judges could only implement restrictions if hospitalizations rose above 15% of the capacity for any of Texas’ 22 hospital regions.
Texans should have been dancing in the streets, right? Yes, bars and restaurants welcomed the news that they could open to full capacity. Yes, and those who did not believe in masks in the first place and considered the restrictions an assault on their freedom by the government were rejoicing. Enter the divide.
Abbot was soon criticized by those in the medical field, government leaders and even the CDC for opening the state too soon. Citizens took side on the issue. Some businesses began announcing that they would still require masks for employees and customers; others will not require them. This goes into effect Wednesday.
Personally, I am ready to get back to something like normal, but I think he should have waited until more Texans were vaccinated, COVID numbers were better and we were closer to herd immunity. Husband and I have had our second shots so we feel we have some protection, but we will not have a problem continuing to wearing a mask when required. Will it be the right decision or will cases, hospitalizations and deaths spike? Will vaccinations make a difference?
April 21 is San Jacinto Day in Texas, the day the Texan Army led by General Sam Houston defeated the Mexico Army near present-day Houston in 1836. We will see where we are by then and if Governor Abbot can claim a victory for all Texans or if he will he face defeat like General Santa Anna, the general who led the Mexican army.