Texas becomes biggest US state to lift COVID-19 mask mandate

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A mask required sign is displayed on the entrance to a business Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is lifting a COVID-19 mask mandate that was imposed last summer but has only been lightly enforced.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement Tuesday makes Texas the largest state to do away with a face covering order.

The decision comes as governors across the U.S. have been easing coronavirus restrictions, despite warnings from health experts that the outbreak is far from over.

Like the rest of the country, Texas has seen a sharp plunge in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.

More than 42,000 people have died from the virus in Texas, trailing only California and New York.

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