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Texas lifts COVID restrictions ahead of Spring Break in Galveston

The state will allow businesses to return to 100% capacity and lift the mask mandate, but some businesses aren’t going to get rid of safety protocols right away.

GALVESTON, Texas — The reopening of the state is coming at a perfect time for some businesses on Galveston Island. Spring Break is set to start in less than two weeks.

People who work in Galveston, like Steven Garcia, said there’s no better time to come down and enjoy what the island has to offer now that COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted.

Health and safety will still be a top priority moving forward but many say they’re ready for life to get back to what it was before the pandemic.

Garcia opened a bike rental shop as the COVID crisis started.

“It’s a back and forth kind of thing and hopefully we could all get it tightened up and everybody can get back to the real normal, not this new normal,” Garcia said.

Over at The Spot, owner Dennis Byrd said sales dropped as much as 95% at the height of the pandemic. He said they had to adapt to reopening guidelines.

“What had happened with capacity restrictions is that we had wait times that encroached upon three hours during the peak season of 2020,” Byrd said.

Even though the state will allow businesses to return to 100% capacity and lift the mask mandate next week, Byrd isn’t going to get rid of safety protocols right away.

Credit: KHOU

“So we’re working with local health providers like UTMB in an effort to get our team vaccinated and until we get adequate vaccination of our team, our team will remain in masks,” he said.

With Spring Break right around the corner, Galveston Island Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody invites people to spend it safely on the island.

“If you want to get out and do something, a beach is a great place to do it, so we’ve had a lot of opportunities to welcome people here for that,” Woody said.

“I certainly think that Spring Break 2021 is going to surpass any expectations that we had,” Byrd said.

Galveston Island plans to survey businesses on how they plan to move forward with masks.

Some businesses won’t require customers to wear masks but they encourage people to do their part to keep others safe.