Mask on. Mask off.

By Nancy Black

One year later. To the day. It was last year at this time we suspended publication of White Rock Lake Weekly because of the national Stay at Home orders. Remember the phrase, “Fifteen Days to Stop the Spread”? 

We hunkered down with the rest of the world as the coronavirus swirled up around us. We watched daily task force briefings. We washed our hands, sanitized our groceries and started wearing masks on our faces.

Take Out Tuesday became a way for the community to help struggling local restaurants. “Tiger King” became the must watch Netflix show of the year. Days turned into months as politics went to war with science. It soon became apparent there were two types of Americans. 

No, not Republican or Democrat, but maskers and anti-maskers. People were either all in to the necessity of wearing masks to stop the spread of germs, or they were absolutely against it, considering the mandate a violation of their civil rights.

All that is moot now. Governor Greg Abbott declared on Tuesday that Texas is 100 percent open for business as of next Wednesday, March 10. No more masks, no more mandates.

So much for all our hard work.

Rumor has it, Abbott made his decision because he receives huge amounts of money from restaurant lobbying groups. Other gossip says Abbott is trying to make up for his failure to protect Texans from the power outages he knew, or should have known, would happen before the recent freeze/snowstorms. 

Personally, I think he is just ignorant. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around his decision-making process. How could he so blatantly ignore the science surrounding the very contagious COVID-19 virus? How could he throw all the health care workers in Texas under the bus so casually? They have worked day and night, 24/7, for more than 365 days now to help keep their fellow Americans alive. 

Think about the essential workers, who by design are forced to deal with the general public on a daily basis. Or all the children and educators who have adapted to online learning. And don’t forget the businesses who installed plexiglass and safety measures to keep the public safe. And now we’re all supposed to just toss our masks into the air like we are graduating from the School of Pandemics. How sad.

I, for one, will still be wearing my mask when out in public. Our newspaper’s nameplate will still be wearing it, too, until the CDC advises the country it is safe not to. I will not relax my hygiene habits. I will not gather in large groups. I will not be eating in a restaurant filled will unmasked people. I did get the vaccine. And I will be encouraging everyone to do the same. If our governor isn’t going to protect us, hopefully the vaccine will. 

The City of Dallas is holding a free COVID-19 vaccination registration event on March 10. The YMCA will help the city register individuals from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at 8920 Stults Rd. in Dallas. Vaccine shots will NOT be administered at this time, but you will get an appointment to receive the shot at a later time. 

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