Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Texans should keep this old saw in mind as they prepare to navigate a world where the State of Texas no longer requires anyone to wear a mask in public.

Don’t use Gov. Greg Abbott’s actions in repealing the mask mandate as excuse for risky behaviors without listening to his words.

“Despite these changes remember this. Removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility or the importance of caring for your family members, caring for your friends and others in our community,” Abbott said.

The Texas Democratic Party was quick to chide Abbott for his decision, but politics aside, their chairman Gilberto Hinojosa made a solid point.

“There is no economic recovery without beating the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

We’re not sold on Hinojosa’s assertion that fully opening up Texas will lead to faster COVID spread. It is our hope that people who have taken the pandemic seriously will continue to do so, and we’re not quite sure what to do about those who don’t.

Take a look inside businesses around our community and many people are already choosing not to wear masks. Some have refused masks since the pandemic began in misguided attempts to say that public health measure were trampling on their freedoms.

We’ve traveled to other parts of the state during this pandemic for various reasons, though not as often as we did before the coronavirus struck. We can say that Nacogdoches has been better about masking up than some places. Let’s keep it that way.

As Abbott said, we don’t need the government to tell us what to do. We know right from wrong, and we here in Deep East Texas know what must be done to care for ourselves, our friends and our neighbors.

We’re in what we’ve described as perhaps the most difficult leg of the marathon that is battling the pandemic. We can see the end. The finish line is so close. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward and keep safe. It is the least we can do.

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