Houston police chief says lifting statewide mask mandate is 'a step in the wrong direction'
HOUSTON, Texas- Governor Greg Abbott is in the process of implementing a plan to lift the statewide mask mandate in Texas and allow businesses to fully reopen. The order will go into effect Wednesday, March 10.
While Governor Abbott's decision has garnered support from some, other officials are saying it would have been more advisable to wait before attempting to revert to pre-pandemic conditions.
According to CNN, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is one such official.
Chief Acevedo called Governor Abbott’s decision to lift the statewide mask mandate a “step in the wrong direction” and added that he expects it will lead to an uptick in calls to his department for service and conflict.
“In this state, businesses have property rights. And so you know, ‘no mask, no service’ means you can't be in that business,” he said. “So if a person does not want to wear the mask and refuses to wear the mask and refuses to leave, they’re committing what’s called criminal trespass.”
Acevedo said he hopes Texans will observe voluntary compliance but he can still see some cases of conflict “and the cops will be stuck in the middle like we always are.”
“We've already seen … a glass broken over [an employee’s] head simply for asking someone to wear the mask. We have another restaurant where the owner is calling me where they're talking about calling ICE on their employees because they've chosen to follow the science and keep their customers healthy. And so the conflict is coming. It was avoidable. This was unnecessary and unfortunately, something else that will be on our plate moving forward,” he said Tuesday.
Acevedo also criticized Gov. Greg Abbott for lifting the mandate for “political theatre.”
“He's going to continue to wear his mask, is my understanding because he understands the risk to his own health. If it's good enough for him to wear a mask, I'm not sure why he doesn't care enough about the rest of Texans to continue to follow the science,” he said.
The decision to lift Texas’ mask mandate is a “step in the wrong direction,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says.— New Day (@NewDay) March 9, 2021
“We’re going to start seeing our calls for service and conflict go up — conflict that can be avoided by simply continuing to follow the science and being patient.” pic.twitter.com/6WJ5Yp5wT1
As of Tuesday, March 9, Texas has experienced a total of 2.7 million COVID cases and 45,570 related deaths.
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