US Which States Have Lifted Mask Mandates?
Mississippi Mayor Calls Out Governor for Putting Lives 'in Jeopardy' by Lifting Mask Mandate
"It is against the advice of our health experts, and it is premature," Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.Reeves, a Republican, made the announcement with the signing of an executive order on Tuesday. The mandate will be lifted as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but the governor said Mississippi residents were still encouraged to wear the face coverings. Indoor businesses will still be restricted to operating at 50 percent capacity, masks will remain required in K-12 schools and municipalities are free to maintain their own local mask mandates.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of statewide mask mandates have been lifted, including most recently in Texas and Mississippi. Here we look at the states that have rescinded their mask mandates so far.
Texas Gov.lifted the statewide mask mandate under a new executive order that comes into effect on Wednesday, March 10.
GOP West Virginia Governor Suggests Abbott Trying to Do 'Macho Thing' by Lifting Mask Mandates
"We're going to do the smart thing in West Virginia," Governor Jim Justice said, noting that he'd continue to follow the advice of experts.Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both Republicans, announced on Tuesday that they would be lifting their statewide mask mandates. Abbott's new executive order will end the mask mandate next week and will allow all businesses across Texas to be open at 100 percent capacity. Reeves issued a similar new executive order on Tuesday, with his state's mask mandate ending on Wednesday of this week. The decisions drew significant criticism from health experts, lawmakers and the White House.
However, businesses are allowed to, including a mask requirement, "at their own discretion," the governor's office said on Tuesday.
The order notes: "Nothing in this executive order precludes businesses or other establishments from requiring employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering."
Several retailers in Texas, including Target,, Best Buy and CVS, have opted to at their stores.
Mississippi also terminated its mask mandate on Wednesday. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Tuesday: "Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules," in apost.
Study shows link between mask mandates, reduced COVID-19 spread
A CDC study found that mask mandates were linked to a decrease in COVID-19 cases and deaths, and allowing dining at restaurants was linked to an increase in both. Your browser does not support this video The findings come as some states, including Texas and Mississippi, have recently made moves to lift their mask mandates and other restrictions, like dining capacity. The CDC report, published Friday, examined the association of state mask mandates and orders allowing restaurants to reopen with COVID-19 cases and deaths. Researchers found that, from March 1 to Dec. 31, mask mandates were associated with a 0.
Reeves said businesses could make their own COVID-19 policies, noting: "We are getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do."
Several retailers in Mississippi, including Kroger and Aldi, are. Some companies will tell employees to wear face coverings but will not enforce a mask rule for customers.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum issued an executive order last November which mandated masks across the state.
After an extension in December, the mandate expired on January 18. The governor noted at the time that active COVID-19 cases had declined by over 80 percent and hospitalizations decreased by about three-fourths while restrictions were in place.
Some cities have maintained local mask mandates, such as in Grand Forks, where the city's health officer issued an order requiring all residents of Grand Forks County to wear face coverings.
The Latest: Dalai Lama receives coronavirus vaccine
DHARMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, has received the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala. After receiving the injection, he urged people to come forward, be brave and get vaccinated. Dr. G.D. Gupta of Zonal Hospital, where the shot was administered, told reporters that the Dalai Lama was observed for 30 minutes afterward. Ten other people who liveAfter receiving the injection, he urged people to come forward, be brave and get vaccinated.
Last month, the North Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill that would ban "making use of a face mask, shield or covering a condition for entry for education, employment or services." The bill has now gone to thefor review.
On February 12, Montana's statewide mask mandate was lifted. The office of Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte noted in a statement at the time: "Consistent with the governor's announcement on February 10, the new directive allows the statewide mask mandate to expire. Local jurisdictions may still choose to implement their own mask requirements."
Certain establishments have maintained mask rules in some local areas such as Billings, the state's most populous city. Masks are required at Billings Logan International Airport and MET Transit, the city's public transport system.
Iowa's mask mandate was lifted on February 7 under an updated public health disaster proclamation issued by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. The move was criticized by Iowa lawmakers who said the governor lifted the mask mandate and social distancing requirements without consulting the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Republican-Led Reopenings Sharpen Political Divide Over Virus
(Bloomberg) -- Decisions by two Republican governors to remove all coronavirus restrictions in their states has reignited the political debate on the pandemic response, elevating it as a campaign issue this year and in 2022. Republicans Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi announced last week they’re eliminating state mask mandates and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity, setting expectations for other GOP-led states to follow suit.The moves drew dire warnings from Democrats and health officials that they risk igniting another spike in cases and deaths and stood in stark contrast to Joe Biden’s cautious approach to getting the U.S.
The new proclamation, which is in effect until 11:59 p.m. on March 7, "strongly encourages Iowans, businesses, and organizations to take reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health," the governor's office said in a statement on February 5.
Some cities have kept their local mask orders, such as in parts of eastern Iowa including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Dubuque, Waterloo and Cedar Falls, as well as Linn and Johnson counties.
The wider picture
Coronavirus has infected more than 115.6 million people, including over 28.8 million in the U.S., since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.
More than 2.5 million people have died worldwide and more than 65.3 million have recovered as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The graphic below, produced by Statista, illustrates how Americans are feeling more optimistic as COVID-19 vaccination continues.
The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the vaccine rollout across the country.
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Greg Abbott's Mask Mandate Repeal Divides Texas Voters, Has Less Support In Cities: Poll .
Starting March 10, Abbott said that the state's mask mandate would be repealed and businesses can open at up to 100 percent capacity.The survey, which was conducted by Progress Texas and Public Policy Polling last week, found that public opinion on the mandate was evenly split across all Texans, with 48 percent in support and 48 percent in opposition.