HOUSTON – People across the Lone Star state will no longer have to wear masks and businesses will reopen up to 100% starting Wednesday. The new order has Mayor Sylvester Turner and other elected officials concerned about “super-division events,” such as “masking” parties throughout the Houston area.
“We are not the dumping ground for events that will put Texans in danger and cause people to lose their lives,” Turner said.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the state has continued to improve in the fight against coronavirus with the latest positivity rate for Texas at 7%. He added that the positivity rate is the lowest in five months and that hospitalizations have decreased.
However, on Sunday, Turner, along with other elected and health officials, came together to convict a local bar and other companies of organizing “masking” events. They said this is not the time to party and have big gatherings.
Concrete Cowboy, a bar located on Washington Avenue, is scheduled to have a “take off the mask” party on Wednesday, the same day the statewide ordering of masks will end.
KPRC 2 contacted the property for comment, but our phone calls have not been returned.
Several leaders said the event is a slap in the face to those who have been working on the front lines.
“Masking events, celebrating the reckless, if not negligent, reversal of COVID-19 prevention measures, is like pouring salt on an open wound for healthcare workers,” said Dr. Christina Propst, M.D. pediatric.
Health workers joined city leaders in urging people to stay vigilant and continue to follow COVID 19 guidelines.
“The hard part is that we are really tired, but the infection is not tired of us and we are not done,” said Dr. Bich-May Nguyen, Physicians and Member of the Board of Physicians for America.
State Rep. Ann Johnson said the superprocessor events will kick off the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the Houston area.
“It will endanger the lives of these healthcare workers, those who work in the nightclubs, the customers and the community members in this neighborhood,” he said.
Turner said the city has passed the 2,000 mark for the number of people who have died from COVID-19. He said more cases are being reported every day.
“Keep in mind that there are 5 variants found in the city of Houston, and they are moving at a rapid pace,” he said.
Turner said that until more people are vaccinated, now is not the time to let our guard down.
“And what I would say to the governor with such respect, there is nothing wrong with stepping back, reversing and opposing the masks’ mandate again,” he said.
Propst said that about 7% of Texans are vaccinated. While to achieve herd immunity, 70% of Texans need to be vaccinated.
Here is the full press with local officials and health experts on Sunday, March 7:
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