Some states lifting mask mandates, local doctor warns it’s too early

Local News

"Regardless of what the state rule is, the federal rules control the airport"

PEORIA, Il. (WMBD) — As millions of vaccinations roll out across the nation, some states are jumping the gun in efforts to open back up again, according to health experts.

Despite Health Official’s concerns to ease restrictions, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order stating the state of Texas will reopen and lift the mask mandate beginning March 10.

“It is now time to open Texas at 100% … also I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” said Abbott at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Event.

After Texas lifted its mandates, three other states followed. Mississippi, Montana, and Iowa will also take the same approach.

“It’s too early I think for us to sit back and declare victory over COVID and I think we are all very happy that the incident rates are going down. Hospitalization rates are going down, vaccine rates are going up, but it’s still early,” said Dr. Steve Hippler, Chief Clinical Officer at OSF.

Dr. Hippler stressed the importance of keeping up with pandemic precautions, especially as travel sees an uptick.

“I think it’s really a time to think in general, not just about one flight to one location, but I think there are many people across the country who are still susceptible who have not been vaccinated and it’s time, I believe, to double down on our personal responsibility,” said Dr. Hippler.

State mask mandates aside, it’s federal rules that run the airport. Peoria International Airport Director, Gene Olson, said TSA agents across the nation require masks on all flights and in all airports.

“As soon as you drive into that airport property in Dallas you’re going to have to wear a mask when you get out of your vehicle. Regardless of what the state rule is, the federal rules control the airport,” said Olson.

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