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'It's Time to Open': Texas Ditches Masks, COVID Restrictions as CDC Warns Against Letting Guard Down

A customer enters a store with a face mask required sign displayed Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Texas is leading the way, as several states are reopening for business after rolling back many of their COVID-19 directives.

The Lone Star State will lift its mask mandate and allow all businesses to re-open next week.

"Most businesses have been open 75% or 50% and during that time too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities," said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.  "Too many small businesses have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.

Abbott cited the declining number of new cases and the flood of vaccines promised in the coming months.

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Eleven other states are also easing restrictions.

Massachusetts is lifting indoor dining limits and opening other businesses like gyms to 50% capacity. 

COVID cases across the country are plunging more than 70%, down from an average of nearly 250,000 infections a day in mid-January.

Average deaths per day have also been plummeting about 40 percent.

The numbers though are starting to creep up again and top health officials warn states not to let their guard down.

"I remain deeply concerned about a potential shift in the trajectory of the pandemic," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. 

On the vaccine front, President Biden announced Tuesday a speeded-up timeline, promising doses for every American sooner than expected.

"This country will have enough vaccine supply.  I'll say it again, for every adult in America by the end of May," said the President.  "That's progress."

The President has authorized the Defense Production Act to foster a historic partnership between rival pharmaceutical companies Johnson and Johnson and Merck to increase vaccine production.  

READ: What You Need to Know About the Leading Coronavirus Vaccines

CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson said that is a hopeful sign in getting the pandemic under control.

"Up until this point the problem has been the demand for the vaccine far outstripped the supply," said Johnson. "That is changing. Pretty soon anyone who wants a coronavirus vaccine will be able to get one.  The question remains: Will enough people get the vaccine?"

"The number of people who say they want the vaccine continues to increase as people look to the left and look to the right and see their friends and family getting one and are not having any problems with the vaccine," she added. 

Meanwhile, President Biden is pushing to reopen the country's public schools.  He's urging states to prioritize vaccinating teachers and school staff by the end of March. 

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