In a few days, the mask mandate in Texas will end.
The decision from Governor Greg Abbott drew criticism from health officials across the state.
FOX 4's Steven Dial talked to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick about the major change, and what the legislature is doing in the wake of the energy crisis from last month's winter storm.
[REPORTER: "With the governor lifting the mask mandate, I know he put the power in local businesses’ hands to enforce masks if they chose so, but recently, most of the medical advisers to the governor say they weren't consulted on this. Do you think the decision was premature at all?"]
"This isn't breaking the mold, we are joining other states on this policy and one of the reasons, this was well thought through by the governor. We believe, by early to mid-April, everyone over 65 will have had a chance to have a vaccination, we are at about 50% or under that," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick answered.
[REPORTER: "Right now, we are celebrating the lowest hospitalizations since October, the lowest positivity rate since October. Do you fear this could trigger things, though?"]
"We don't know what the future holds. We are looking at trends nationally, but we are looking at trends in Texas. Once you get nearly half of the adult population, we have vaccinated about 6 million people so far. In another four to six weeks, it will be much higher than that, close to half of the population who wants it, so we will be fairly vaccinated by the end of April," Patrick said.
[REPORTER: "The head of the Public Utility Commission and eventually the CEO of ERCOT will no longer be in that role, with them leaving, is that ceremonial? Or will that actually start the spur of change when it comes to making sure this doesn't happen again?"]
"They were asked by senators from both parties the same question, what would you have done differently, and there was no answer. What would you do to fix this, there was no answer. We need people with a fresh set of eyes and a blank sheet of paper to see how to do this better," Patrick responded.
[REPORTER: "Critics will say the Republican leadership was already warned about this type of event happening, what is your response to saying that?"]
"In 2011, we made recommendations to winterize and some other issues after that 2011 storm, and quite frankly, everything worked in 2012-2020. So we assumed the recommendations we made were working with the exception of some brown outs. So now it’s not going to be suggestions, it’s going to be you shall, since we can’t let this happen again," Patrick said.