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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Lifting business regulations is a victory for freedom

Opinion+writer+Bryce+Robinson+discusses%26%23160%3Bthe+removal+of+the+mask+mandate+by+Gov.+Greg+Abbott+nearly+a+month+after+the+decision+was+made.%26%23160%3B
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Opinion writer Bryce Robinson discusses the removal of the mask mandate by Gov. Greg Abbott nearly a month after the decision was made. 

It has been nearly a month since Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order which removed Texas’s mask mandate and allowed businesses to open their doors to customers at 100 percent capacity. Because the government forced businesses to lower their capacity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the move to fully reopen was met with joy from many small business owners and pushback from many well-known Texans who oppose the governor lifting the restrictions.

The issue with both the mask mandate and reduced business capacity is not their effectiveness in slowing the pandemic’s spread, but whether the government should have the power to enforce what private businesses wish to allow in their establishments.

The government having too much power to ban and regulate certain things has been a constant area of contention since the founding of America. Look no further than the issues of gun rights or prohibition of alcohol to see how the government has used its power to regulate freedoms. 

Even though many Republicans are in favor of lifting these business restrictions, that does not mean they are always in favor of government non-interference. For instance, there were many  Texas Republicans who initially pushed for these lockdowns, so there is certainly precedent for both political parties to interfere with our constitutional freedoms. Nevertheless, it is now the opinion of Abbott that these coronavirus regulations have gone on for too long.

Let us not forget the COVID-19 pandemic caused much harm and death within this great country. However, because of the shortsightedness in many of our politicians, millions of people lost their jobs when the pandemic first hit. Even today, there are still many Americans who are out of work. Hopefully, these jobs will come back, but in order for them to return, we need more states to realize their past mistakes and follow Texas’s lead in lifting their coronavirus regulations.

Furthermore, these regulations were put into effect under the assumption COVID-19 would severely hurt public health. This fear was not unwarranted. However, anytime the government uses the powers entrusted in it by the people to lock down businesses and prevent Americans from living their normal lives, it also should be taken into account how many will lose their jobs and businesses. 

Because of the coronavirus, some estimates have already put the amount of businesses to likely permanently close at 100,000. Even if some of these business owners are able to come back when the pandemic ends, the government should not be able to shut down their businesses with so little regard for what the owners’ want. We know the individual states have the ability to lock down businesses within their borders or force citizens to wear masks. However, in regard to the government shutting down businesses, the ends do not justify the means.

Granted, the end goal of the government during this pandemic is to stop the spread of COVID-19, and some of the means used to accomplish this goal include shutting down businesses, reducing capacities for open businesses and mask mandates. But some of these measures were also done with an extremely shortsighted view, only looking at how to flatten the curve with little regard for the economy or well-being of workers. Regardless of whether these measures were scientifically proven to eliminate the coronavirus completely, even without the vaccine, it is the right of businesses to choose if they want to stay open and customers to choose if they want to put themselves at risk to visit these businesses.

Governors across the country need to realize their top priority is to the citizens they represent. Regardless of the backlash they will receive from people with opposing views, these governors need to step up and move toward policies which will help the businesses of the country prosper. Even if the politicians in charge think removing these business regulations will cause them to lose their next election, they must stand up for policies that will help America to fully recover from the harm the pandemic has caused our loved ones and our economy.

Abbott should be applauded for showing that he cares about the rights of businesses to operate as they please. Even though this act of freedom was done too late to help many of the people who lost their livelihood, there is still some good which has come from it. If other states will follow Abbott’s lead in letting business owners choose whether or not they have limited capacity or require the wearing of masks, then we can truly start to bring life back to normal.

Bryce Robinson is a business administration sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.
 

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