Just minutes after California announced that seven counties — including San Francisco — were being allowed to reopen further due to falling Covid-19 numbers, Governor Gavin Newsom excoriated a Tuesday decision by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to lift that state’s mask mandate.
Sharing an Associated Press story on Twitter, Newsom wrote simply, “Absolutely reckless.”
Absolutely reckless. https://t.co/3O5GsbSLpM
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 2, 2021
Newsom, a Democrat and Abbott, a Republican, have some things in common. They are the governors of the two most populous states in the nation. They have also both recently dealt with unparalleled natural disasters — wildfires in CA and freezing weather across TX — while simultaneously confronting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Newsom was criticized for one of America’s longest and most stringent lockdowns. Abbott was attacked by many in his own party for the mask mandate and other restrictions. Both officials have been lifting restrictions of late. Newsom on Monday announced a plan to reopen TK-2nd grade classrooms by April 1. Abbott today repealed the mask restriction as well as rules that limit the number of diners or customers allowed indoors.
“Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” AP quoted Abbott as saying while speaking from a crowded dining room in Lubbock. “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed,” he said. Mississippi also lifted its mask requirement on Tuesday.
Abbott wrote triumphantly on Twitter, “I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.”
I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.
I also ended the statewide mask mandate.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021
It’s a puzzling contention given that, according to Johns Hopkins University, Texas now has the highest number of daily new Covid cases in the country, with 7,778 reported in the past 24-hour period. That puts it just above Newsom’s state.
The California governor, for his part, has had a tweet pinned to the top of his account since June 2020
reminding his state’s residents that “you are now REQUIRED to wear a mask in public spaces.”
REMINDER: CA, you are now REQUIRED to wear a mask in public spaces.
We’re seeing too many people with faces uncovered. Wearing a face covering is critical for keeping people safe and healthy, keeping businesses open and getting people back to work.
Do your part. Wear your mask.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 19, 2020