As we near the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor of Texas has made the decision to fully reopen the state, and even lift the statewide mask mandate.

Greg Abbott made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the state "must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texas."

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The governor says the measures will help Texas businesses recover.

"With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny," says Abbott. 

In the statement, Abbott says Texans have "mastered" safe practices over the last year and that vaccinations and reduced hospitalizations render the restrictions unnecessary.

"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," said Abbott. 

The mask mandate and capacity limits will be officially lifted on Wednesday, March 10.

The governor's announcement comes as the state nears 2.3 million total cases of COVID-19 and over 43,000 reported deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly 2 million of the 29 million Texas residents have received both doses of the vaccines.

According to KVUE News, Texas now joins 15 other states, including Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma, without statewide mask mandates.