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'Absolutely Reckless': California Governor Slams Texas Move To Lift Mask Mandate

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) - California Gov. Gavin Newsom sharply criticized an announcement Tuesday by his counterpart in Texas lifting that state's mask mandate.

Gov. Greg Abbott has faced sharp criticism from his party over the mandate, imposed eight months ago. The move makes Texas the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Only California and New York have reported more COVID-19 deaths than Texas.

Newsom - who is currently the target of a recall campaign and faced criticism for shunning his own mask mandate during a dinner late last year - was quick to slam the move as "absolutely reckless".

After issuing health orders that have shuttered schools and businesses and in the wake of a massive unemployment benefits fraud scandal, Newsom still faces public backlash for his ill-advised dinner at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, an establishment that features a white truffle and caviar dinner for $1,200 per person.

Some on social media responded to Newsom's tweet with photos from his infamous dinner.

The governor has since apologized for the dinner.

Abbott's decision comes as governors across the U.S. have been easing coronavirus restrictions, despite warnings from health experts that the pandemic is far from over. Like the rest of the country, Texas has seen the number of cases and deaths plunge.

Hospitalizations are at the lowest levels since October, and the seven-day rolling average of positive tests has dropped to about 7,600 cases, down from more than 10,000 in mid-February.

(Copyright 2021 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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