Residents, Businesses Enter First Weekend of Mandate-Free Texas

Gov. Abbott's capacity limits and mask mandate officially ended Wednesday

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Saturday marked the start of the first weekend in a fully reopened Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and ended his mask mandate.

Some events, like Cowtown Goes Green, proceeded as planned at full capacity.

Dena Newell, Director of Marketing and Tourism for the Stockyards Heritage Development, said it was one of the largest events in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

“It’s smaller than it would normally be and if it were a normal year. However, we’ve got a very good attendance this year,” Newell said.

Restrictions on businesses, such as capacity and the statewide mask mandate, were officially lifted Wednesday. Under Abbott's latest executive order, businesses can keep policies on masks and capacity in place if they choose to.

Some places are only requiring employees to wear masks, while it is optional for customers.

“Here outdoors, we encourage if you feel comfortable, you know, not wearing a mask then you’re fine. It’s your choice,” Newell said. “If you would like to wear a mask, we also have some available. We even are giving away green bandanas.”

Brad and Cheryl Rothbauer of Allen are both vaccinated and attended Cowtown Goes Green on Saturday.

“It feels awesome. We do have our masks, but yeah… I mean, it just feels awesome to be with people again. I love it,” Cheryl Rothbauer said.

While the St. Patrick’s Day tradition in Fort Worth continued on this year, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Avenue in Dallas was canceled in late January.

Ahead of the weekend, Dallas city councilman David Blewett of District 14 tweeted a reminder the parade and street party that traditionally follows is canceled and added local residents were “strongly advised to maintain adherence to the latest CDC guidelines, avoid crowds, and maintain six feet of distance from others."

“The Dallas Fire Department, Dallas Police Department, Code Enforcement, TABC, and parking enforcement will maintain a physical presence on Lower Greenville,” Blewett said. “Off-duty, reserve, mounted officers and other response team divisions will be on stand-by for any necessary assistance.”

Back in Fort Worth, some spent Saturday near Sundance Square.

Adrian and Leila Perez celebrated their 12th anniversary together, easing back to their lives pre-pandemic.

“We have two little kids and now that our parents are fully vaccinated, we finally feel comfortable getting some help. We have not had a date in a year,” Leila said.

At the Fort Worth Stockyards, there were still some signs reminding people to keep a safe distance. The Stockyard Heritage Development team said there was ample space to do that.

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