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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Hays County judge calls governor’s lifted mask mandate ‘premature and reckless’

Hays+County+Judge+Ruben+Becerra+listens+to+a+speech+at+a+protest+held+for+and+in+honor+of+George+Floyd+and+Breonna+Taylor%2C+Friday%2C+May+29%2C+2020%2C+at+the+Hays+County+Historic+Courthouse.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra listens to a speech at a protest held for and in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse.

In a statement to the county, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra expressed disapproval of Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide March 2 announcement of an executive order that will lift the state-wide mask mandate and increase the capacity of businesses and facilities to 100%. 
Executive Order GA 34 will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 10. 
The order states if COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas climb above 15% of the hospital bed threshold for seven straight days, a county judge may implement COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
The governor adds no county judge can impose penalties or jail time for failing to follow COVID-19 orders or wear a face mask. Restrictions on a county level also may not reduce the capacity for businesses and facilities to less than 50%.
In a press release and statement to KXAN, Becerra says it is too early to ease restrictions in place, especially after more contagious and dangerous strains of COVID-19 have been detected within and near Hays County.
Becerra also points out Hays County, with its population of nearly 300,000, only receives “fewer than 2,000 vaccines a week.”
“After careful consideration and much deliberation, I call the governor’s order lifting the mask mandate ambitious, but premature and reckless,” Becerra says.  
Abbott says Texas’ COVID-19 testing capacity exceeds 100,000 tests per day, and the number of Texans who have recovered from COVID-19 is likely four to five times higher than the confirmed 2.5 million lab-confirmed recoveries.
In his announcement, Abbott cited advancements in vaccinations, specifically the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as well as the high number of recoveries from COVID-19 in the state as reasons for the decision. 
“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100%,” Abbott says. “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.”

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