States lifting mask mandates in response to vaccine rollout


Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi lifted their states’ mask mandates on March 2. 

Along with lifting mask mandates, Texas and Mississippi also removed any COVID-19 related restrictions on business operations. 

This means bars are open, restaurants are at full capacity with no social distancing or mask requirements, and schools can begin functioning regularly again. 

So far, Gov. John Bel Edwards has not followed our bordering states’ lead. However, Louisiana has reentered Phase 3 as COVID-19 vaccines are quickly being administered throughout the state. 

Students like Todd Spears agree with Gov. Edwards’ current choice. Spears believes that now is not the time to lessen restrictions as it might impede us from reaching herd immunity. 

“Previous surges happened when measures were lax,” Spears said. 

Louisiana started rolling out vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer in December. 

However, only 15% of the state has received their first dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana is divided into eight regions for vaccine administration purposes. 

Only 10.4% of people in Region 8, where Ouachita Parish is located, have been vaccinated.  

Other students like Hanna Flynn think that the time to lift mask mandates is now. 

As people continue to get vaccinated, they yearn to go back to “normal life” before the pandemic. 

“I’m excited to have that freedom to go places without covering our faces again,” Flynn said. 

And although Shabnam Ajani believes lifting mask mandates is an unwise decision, she can see the other side’s point of view. 

“I know it’s hard for others because they want to live their lives,” Ajani said. “COVID came along and ruined a lot of stuff but at the end of the day, people should worry about other people’s health.” 

Both Gov. Abbott and Reeves based their decisions to open their states on declining COVID-19 hospitalizations and the beginning stages of vaccines being administered.