Since the coronavirus pandemic and the quarantine that came with it first swept over the world, music fans have had one thing on their minds: when will shows start up again? Without live music, everything from our social lives to our favorite artists’ income has been thrown into a state of chaos. But now, two U.S. states, Texas and Mississippi, have announced that they’ll be allowing full-capacity concerts, and that masks will no longer be required.
Texas governor Greg Abbott has issued Executive Order GA-34, which will go into effect March 10th. The order declares that not only will all businesses be allowed to open at 100% capacity, but the state will not enforce a mask mandate.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” declared Abbott. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100%.
“Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed. Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”
NEW: Issuing an executive order to lift the mask mandate and open Texas to 100 percent. pic.twitter.com/P4UywmWeuN
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 2, 2021
Mississippi governor Tate Reeves has issued a similar executive order, giving businesses a greenlight to reopen and no longer enforcing mask mandates.
“Executive orders that interfered with peoples’ lives were the worst, but the only possible, intervention for much of the last year,” wrote Reeves on Twitter. “Now, we are putting our focus towards rapid vaccine distribution. We are getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do.”
We’ve been among the 4 or 5 most open states throughout this crisis, and we’ve been rewarded for it with more jobs and economic recovery. That’s not because what we put in place was a light burden. It’s only because the rest of the country was so harsh. That’s good, but…
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 2, 2021
While many are excited by this news, it hasn’t sat well with some artists. Todd la Torre, lead singer of progressive metal act Queensryche, called out Abbott, tweeting, “Fucking asshole scumbag. This is why our industry will be the last to open. Zero lessons learned. Tick tock.”
Fucking asshole scumbag. This is why our industry will be the last to open. Zero lessons learned. Tick tock. https://t.co/CdxEqwiSTH
— Todd La Torre (@ToddLaTorre) March 3, 2021
More on this story as it develops.
Words by Chris Krovatin