This week, multiple states and cities loosened COVID-19 restrictions as the coronavirus vaccines continue to become more widely available across the U.S., including Texas, where Gov. Abbott just announced that the state would be rolling back most of its COVID-19 restrictions, including mandatory mask policies and all dining capacity limits, effective March 10. Also this week, San Francisco reopened indoor dining to 25% capacity on Tuesday, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced indoor dining capacity would increase to 50% effective March 2, and Massachusetts has removed all indoor dining capacities starting March 1, Gov. Charlie Baker announced last Friday.
The wave of cities and states loosening COVID-19 restrictions on businesses has prompted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to warn Americans that there is still strong potential for a fourth wave of the virus, despite the fact that numbers of new cases have dropped by more than half since their peak in early January.
"Please hear me clearly," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a White House press conference on Tuesday. "At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained."
In speaking directly to states and cities that have rolled back restrictions, she added, “now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
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