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Gregg Popovich slams Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's move to lift mask mandate: 'This is really ridiculous'

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·3 min read
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott completely lifted the state’s mask mandate on Tuesday despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich isn’t happy about it.

Abbott announced on Tuesday that residents are no longer required to wear a face mask in public and that all businesses can open at full capacity starting next week, according to The Dallas Morning News. Though new case numbers are declining nationally, the pandemic is far from over — and Texas is among the slowest states in the country to administer the vaccine.

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"In all honesty, I'm worried about the people in our state," Popovich said. "That's a pretty mystifying decision considering the situation we're all in."

Gregg Popovich: ‘This is really ridiculous’

Popovich, and health experts, were extremely critical of Abbott’s decision on Tuesday.

His move, Popovich said, is both “ignorant” and “really ridiculous.”

“It puts a lot of businesses in a tough spot, I think,” Popovich said. “They’re trying to do a good job of keeping everybody safe. Of course they want to open up. But getting rid of masks just seems ignorant to me.

“We have to have instant gratification and act like the pandemic is over? We already went through this once, and now we're going to do it again? When you go into those restaurants, you take your masks off anyway when you’re eating. So how hard can it be? Now they’re going to have to talk to people that come in. And the people that didn’t want to wear masks in the first place, how do the businesses get them to wear masks? Well, now they don’t have to. So now there will be infections, one would think.”

Gregg Popovich wears a face mask and has his arms crossed on the sideline of a game.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich ripped Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to lift a mask mandate in the state. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas has recorded more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic, according to The New York Times, second only to California. The state is averaging nearly 7,700 new cases a day over the past week, too.

To make matters worse, Texas is also struggling to deliver the vaccine. Only 13% of Texans have received at least a single dose of the virus, according to The New York Times, which is better than just Georgia, Utah and Washington, D.C.

While there has been plenty of pressure placed on Abbott to start opening up the state, his move on Tuesday is one many Texas officials and health experts believe is a dangerous one — something that Popovich believes is very premature and will undoubtedly lead to more cases and deaths.

“But when all of a sudden we act like it’s over with and all of the science tells us the opposite, you’re basically saying, ‘You get infected and you die? That’s the way it goes. We have to open up!’ That’s not the way to do it,” Popovich said. “This is really ridiculous.”

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