'Absolutely reckless': Gov. Gavin Newsom reacts to Texas lifting mask mandate, other restrictions

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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California Governor Gavin Newsom reacted Tuesday to the news that Texas Governor Greg Abbott is lifting all mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

SAN FRANCISCO -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom reacted Tuesday to the news that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is lifting all mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

Abbott says the move is being made to help revive the state's economy. He also cited the lower number of COVID-19 cases across the state. Mississippi is following suit, no longer requiring masks as it opens up.

"Absolutely reckless," Newsom tweeted.

WATCH: Newsom reacts to Texas lifting mask mandate: 'Absolutely reckless'

When ABC7 News' Chris Nguyen told him the news following a press conference in Santa Clara County on Tuesday, California's governor responded, "Look, this is the most critical moment in this pandemic. If we want to quickly open our schools, quickly open our businesses, we've got to be mindful. We gotta hold on, we can still make modifications, we can get our kids back in school, we can start reopening businesses. But mask wearing is foundational in order to safely do that and get our economy roaring again."

Texas is the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 42,000 Texans. Abbott has faced sharp criticism from his party over the mandate, which was imposed eight months ago, and other COVID-19 restrictions. It was only ever lightly enforced, even during the worst outbreaks of the pandemic.

RELATED: Texas will lift all COVID-19 restrictions next week, Gov. Abbott says

Newsom was in Camarillo Tuesday night at the Ventura County Office of Education vaccination site. The governor was joined by health officials across the country warning that not wearing masks could lead to another virus surge.

"I don't think that's a good example. The most important and powerful thing we can do in order to mitigate the spread of this disease -- the most important non-pharmaceutical intervention besides getting a vaccine -- is wearing a mask. Why do emergency room doctors wear masks? For a reason. Follow their example. Follow science, follow the health and the data," Newsom said.

Some private employers are also criticizing the move to reopen, saying that taking away the mask mandate will unnecessarily put workers in danger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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