Some States Are Beginning to Lift Mask Mandates, But Is It the Right Decision?

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States like Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and West Virginia are beginning to lift their Covid-19 safety restrictions despite a constant number of cases. The lifted restrictions include, but are not limited to, opening restaurants and bars at full capacity, lifting mask mandates and social distancing guidelines. 

Alabama’s governor, Kay Ivey, announced in early March that the state would continue with a statewide mask mandate until April 9. Health officials in Alabama are warning against the expiration of the mask mandate coming up at the end of next week. Gov. Ivey is however strong on her stance, but is promoting the use of the Covid-19 vaccine, stating that the citizens of Alabama should attempt to get at least the first round of the vaccination. 

Unlike Alabama, the state of Arizona never had a mask mandate. Gov. Steve Ducey also recently announced the full capacity opening of places like restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and more. 

The states of Mississippi and Florida have been in hot water recently regarding the lift of Covid-19 restrictions prior to many school spring breaks, which bring thousands of tourists. Mississippi’s governor, Tate Reeves, announced that he would end the state’s mask mandate on March 2, stating that due to the release of the vaccine, case numbers were decreasing. 

“It’s time!” stated Gov. Reeves in a twitter post. 

Florida, overall, has been pretty lacking with their Covid-19 restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. After all, the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, began lifting restaurant restrictions as early as September of 2020. The state of Florida no longer requires masks, although many counties, cities, and health officials still recommend the use of them. 

West Virginia more recently began opening back up. As of now, West Virginia still has a mask mandate, and Gov. Jim Justice is still encouraging their use, despite opening restaurants and bars at full capacity with no social distancing guidelines. 

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So, are these states and governors making the right decision to reopen their states at full capacity or lift other restrictions during this time? While the vaccine has shown much improvement to the case numbers in the United States, the average number of new cases nationally per day averages between 30,000-60,000. Both states and citizens are obviously very eager to open back up, however, it’s not quite time yet. Many Americans have yet to receive the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Health officials state that until at least half of the United States population is vaccinated herd immunity can not be reached. Right now, about sixteen percent of the American population is vaccinated, but the roll out is still happening. In many states, those over the age of sixteen will be eligible for vaccination beginning next week on April 5, 2021. After a long year, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

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