Abbott’s Decision Unmasks Opinions

Readers are divided on whether unmasking is a wise choice

As the state, country, and county reacted to Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement that the state would open 100% on March 10 – and that the mask mandate would be lifted – readers have been letting us know how they feel. 

And we made it easy to do so by providing a survey that asked six questions centered around the governor’s decision, and about masking. We also asked an open-ended question: How do you feel about reopening the state and ending the mask mandate?

In a word, people are conflicted. Some feel that a year of pandemic mitigation was overkill and that the science behind masking was unconvincing to them. Others strongly felt that the governor’s actions in May 2020 led to the large spike in cases over the summer, and that this would be a repeat of that.

If you didn’t get a chance to take the survey, please let us know how you feel with a letter to the editor.

The survey (Total survey takers: 1,181)

Do you agree with Gov. Abbott?

  • No 64.6%
  • Yes 33.5%
  • Not sure 1.9%

Are you worried about a potential increase in cases because of the reopening of the state and the loss of the state mask mandate?

  • Not about reopening, but yes about masks 17.3%
  • Not about the masks, but yes about reopening 0.5%
  • Yes about all of it 50.9%
  • No about all of it 31%
  • Not sure 0.3%

Will you continue to mask up?

  • No 18.6%
  • Yes 67.6%
  • Depends on the situation 13.8%

Will you refrain from shopping at businesses where masks are not required?

  • Yes 55.5%
  • No 30.5%
  • Depends on the business 11.9%
  • Not sure 2.1%

When should Texas reopen and ditch the mask mandate?

  • Now 30.8%
  • When the state reaches 70 to 80% herd immunity 40.1%
  • I think it should be a county-by-county decision 19.9%
  • Not sure 9.2%

How do you feel about reopening the state and ending the mask mandate? (Random sample of answers)

  • “Abbott is posturing and deflecting. He’s a partisan hack and needs to go.”
  • “People/businesses should be able to decide on their own. I think that’s the essence of personal freedom. “
  • “Just as we begin to see daylight, Abbott makes a terrible and premature decision.I have written to his office expressing my displeasure (as though he cares). Has he forgotten last spring/summer when he made the same boo-boo and the numbers spiked so severely.”
  • “Strongly agree. We must stop allowing the government to make personal decisions. Make the decision as an individual. And your survey is biased in how it is set up. Yes and no should be in the same spot each time. And why didn’t you ask about whether I will avoid places that force me to wear a mask? Seems to be a logical option. And yes, I’ll be skipping target for now because of their mandate. “
  • “It is entirely premature and puts us at risk for Cole tinier invective spikes. This is especially true when only 15% of the population has been vaccinated. “
  • “This is a step backwards.”
  • “Everyone deserves the freedom to decide for themselves if they will wear a mask or not, and if they should stay home or not.”
  • “Open businesses but for the love of Jesus and his disciples, wear the damn mask.”
  • “It’s about time …”
  • “Please get these face coverings off our children. The psychological damage from wearing masks is far greater than the threat of covid.”

To see all the responses, click here.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.eric[email protected].

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