Texas is Now OPEN

Amina Hall, Staff Writer

“Dine-in is now available! We’re back to full capacity!” 

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic shopping centers, stores, restaurants, and many other businesses have been closed and forced to sell their food and products online. Schools have been closed and students have been forced to learn across Zoom and other virtual platforms. Masks have had to be worn almost anywhere a person goes. It has been a long haul. 

However, over the last few months stores, schools, restaurants, and other public places have slowly been opening up and bringing the public back inside. Even though we all desperately want the world back to normal and have the places we want to visit open, rushing it may not be the best of ideas. 

The Covid-19 virus has taken hundreds of thousands of lives in the U.S., and millions worldwide. All over the world, people have expressed their continued concerns over the severity of the virus. However, the fact remains that while some take it seriously, others take it lightly. In the U.S., states and cities have started relaxing their regulations based on their Covid rates or the beliefs of their local leaders. In some circumstances this is good but in others, it’s created issues and proven to be not worth it.  

States like California and New Mexico both have mixed Covid restrictions. While they do advise people to stay home and require them to wear a mask, their businesses are mixed between being open and closed. These restrictions seem to be mostly based on what the county feels is safest for their residents. On the other hand, states like Florida and Oklahoma have no mask or stay-at-home restrictions and the majority of their businesses are open. For Florida, this is the case because their governor, Ron DeSantis, has made clear he does not want the local governments to have tighter restrictions than the state. 

As this quite alarming news has spread across the country, almost everyone knows about how Texas is now fully open. Regulations suggest no need for masks. Everything is mostly open. Everything is back at full capacity. Like most people, I was kind of shocked that they were opening up so soon.  I wanted to get the opinions of people who traveled to Texas or who live there about the states’ status. 

 I recently had the chance to travel to Texas and I was able to see first-hand what everything basically “open” looks like. Walking into various establishments I would say about 60% of people were still wearing their masks. I also noticed that even though some stores said you need a mask to come in they didn’t seem to fully enforce their signs. Overall, I was glad to see the majority of people were still enforcing the recommended CDC guidelines. 

Thirteen-year-old Avery Domaguin, a resident of California says, “Texas opening-up, since it’s such a big state–it’s like is that a good idea? Like California, we are not even opened up like at all, and we too are one of the biggest states. So it’s kind of like, wow!” 

Avery and her family planned to travel to Texas long before the state announced their opening, but they planned to do so safely.  She says, “It’s kind of like we were still going to come anyway; we just need to keep our masks on.” Avery says that for the rest of the Covid pandemic both she and her family will continue wearing their masks. 

Fourteen-year-old Charisse Graham is a resident of Texas and says that her community started quarantine back in March of 2020 like most cities; but she notes that soon – after about a month – they started to reopen things with masks required. Charisse says, “Surprisingly the regulations weren’t as strict as other states, but really they just told us to stay six feet apart and just wear your mask at all times. Our governor, Greg Abbott,  regulated all the masks and such; but the city mayor mandated the CDC rules to stay six feet apart and continue to wash your hands.” She also says that even though Texas is open, many businesses still require you to wear a mask. 

When asked about her thoughts of Texas opening up she responded, “I absolutely hate it because you’re putting other people’s lives at risk. What’s the point of opening up? We have fewer cases and fewer hospitals are full of Covid patients. I just don’t see why we had to reopen everything.” Charisse says that both she and her family will be wearing their masks for the rest of the corona quarantine. 

Sixteen-year-old Jordan Sexton, also a resident of Texas, says that a few weeks ago, March 17th would have been the “one-year anniversary,” since his area was in quarantine. Jordan says, “In my experience of the initial stages of quarantine it was more like an extended vacation. For my school district spring break was the week before everything started to shut down. It felt as if it were an extended holiday because I wasn’t going outside of the house for anything other than school at the time. I didn’t see firsthand how strict restrictions were but my family did make an effort to limit the number of trips made to grocery stores and restaurants.” 

Jordan Sexton also says that the community was supporting one another by helping enforce guidelines. He says, “I felt the governor’s choice to open up was premature for access to the vaccine was still limited in amount and was only provided to adults.”

Jordan notes, “My family will likely be wearing masks even after we’ve been vaccinated. My mother has been and she still wears two masks when she goes to work. Despite protection from Covid through the vaccination, I still have no desire to contract the virus.” 

Governor Abbot of Texas recently fully opened Texas. While some of his citizens may think it was a good idea others feel he may be putting others at a risk for the corona virus. People all around the world may be split whether the world should fully open back up again but we should all keep in mind the people who are most vulnerable. Sure some of us want to go back to “normal” but you can’t rush safety. That’s what’s most important.