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Lifting mask mandate in Texas ‘would be a big mistake,’ says Mayor Nirenberg

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg displays himself wearing a mask during the city's daily coronavirus update. (Screenshot/City of San Antonio)

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Gov. Abbott hinted this week that he may soon lift the mask mandate, but Mayor Ron Nirenberg advises area residents to keep wearing the face coverings.

While COVID-19 numbers are trending down and more people are getting vaccinated, lifting the statewide mask order “would be a big mistake.”

Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff fired off a letter to the governor Friday urging him to leave the facemask mandate in place.

“Especially with the arrival of new variants of the virus, our existing safety measures are even more important. We have to do everything in our power to prevent new surges in infections, subsequent hospitalization, and more deaths to avoid further individual and collective suffering and economic pain,” they stated in the letter.

The governor’s mandate, which went into effect in July, requires that everyone 10 years or older wear face coverings inside public buildings and outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.  There are some exemptions.

“We are gaining control of this virus,” said Nirenberg. “We’re seeing immunity increase.  In fact, I was very excited so see the number of vaccines that have been administered in our community so far.  I think it’s 225,000, but the health professionals are clear that, especially with the variants that are transmitting our community, now is not the time to let down our masks.”

Abbott said this week that and announcement is coming soon concerning face masks and other public health emergency orders that were implemented to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The safety and well-being of our citizens is at the heart of all our decisions.  Let science be our guide and let us work together to keep Texas healthy and prosperous,” Nirenberg and Wolff stated in the letter.

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