In an afternoon news conference from Lubbock, Abbott said he is lifting a statewide mask mandate and allowing all businesses to reopen effective March 10.
'"This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent," he announced. "Everybody that wants to work should have that opportunity. Every business that wants to open, should be open."
Texas continues to rank second nationwide in COVID cases, with total of close to 2.7 million confirmed cases.
According to a December poll by VOX, most Americans support a mask mandate, and in July, a poll by Texas 2036 found that the majority of Texans supported a mask mandate.
Within an hour of the announcement, “RIPTexas” began trending on Twitter, where users are calling for Abbott’s resignation and urging others to ignore the governor's order and continue to wear masks in public spaces. They widely expressed their disapproval of Abbott's announcement through the creative use of GIFS and memes.
The subtext of Abbott's speech, according to one Twitter user, is "Because fuck 'em."
Some of the responses were refreshingly wholesome, like Craig's dad, who just wants to wants to play make-believe.
Abbott when asked why he’s removing the mandate:— justin (@SayHeyIts18) March 2, 2021
Rob Anderson, a man with a plan, offered a literal plan B.
Omg just got an email from Greg Abbott: pic.twitter.com/m1HU3uDLM1— syd (@guccieez) March 2, 2021
SpongeBob suddenly became the only choice to match wits with Abbott.
Please stay safe, Texas.— Rob Anderson for Louisiana (@RobAnderson2018) March 2, 2021
And make plans to vote for Beto to replace Abbott. https://t.co/D0QHP70EfM
Greg Abbott announcing he will open Texas 100% no mask mandate. God Bless Texas. Texas to the world rn. RIP Texas pic.twitter.com/yncLHKGg9a— cesar (@Jebaiting) March 2, 2021
While anime memes were a tad more brutal.
Governor Abbott to the state of Texas: pic.twitter.com/CjPkI3VIRh— Paulmonary Emenoblism (@MrOhioState18) March 2, 2021
Michelle summed up constituents' disappointment after a weeklong winter storm forced Texans to fend without power, water and a senator who took off to Cancun.
“Greg Abbott ends mask mandate and opens Texas 100%!”— Trent (@TrentonamoBae) March 2, 2021
All the logical Texans: pic.twitter.com/YxkUjQVGdR
I’m really glad my power is back on so I can attend these virtual funerals. #RIPTexas— Michelle Rodriguez (@thecolourmegrey) March 2, 2021