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'This is a death sentence for many Texans': Families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 react to Texas reopening

Thousands are reacting to news that Texas plans to fully reopen and lift the mask mandate next week. Among those weighing in are people impacted by the coronavirus.

People across the state and country are reacting to news that Texas plans to fully reopen and lift the mask mandate next week. Among those sharing their thoughts are people impacted by the coronavirus. 

Fiana Tulip’s mom died of COVID this summer. Isabelle Papadimitriou was a Respiratory Therapist at Baylor Scott and White in Dallas. She passed away on July 4. 

“The coronavirus took from me so much love,” Tulip said. “And it took from me the opportunity to see my mom as a grandmother.”

Then, there’s Kaitlyn Urenda. Her mom was a registered nurse for more than 40 years in El Paso.  

“She believed in the sanctity of life and preserving dignity in death,” Urenda said. “There was no dignity in her death.”

RELATED: A Dallas health care worker died from COVID-19. Her daughter invited the Texas governor to the funeral 

Both are disappointed with the governor’s announcement. 

“This is a death sentence for many Texans,” Tulip said. “It feels disrespectful and it feels like a slap in the face to those who are hurting, because there’s still a long way to go.”

“Governor Abbott knows my mom’s name and I’m sure he knows other people’s names who have died from COVID, but he doesn’t know what it feels like to say goodbye to a family member, to a loved one, over Zoom,” Tulip said. “He doesn’t know what it feels like to be in a COVID ward in a hospital and sit for there for days and days without knowing if you’re going to make it out alive.”

“It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s not a data driven decision, you’re playing COVID roulette with people’s lives,” said Urenda. 

RELATED: Dallas woman presents resolution to memorialize COVID-19 victims and survivors

Though there are those who strongly disagree with the governor, there are many who support him too. 

“Best thing he’s done in months. If people feel safer wearing a mask, do so. It’s now a choice,” Terry Schmidl said on the WFAA Facebook page. “Opening businesses will put people back to work, and save small businesses from going under.”

“It’s not a political issue, it is a let’s get on with our lives issue!” Vicky Trask commented. 

But for the two women who lost their mom, it’s not that easy to just get on with their lives.

“He doesn’t know what we’re going through and that is 100% clear,” said Tulip.

Their grief continues as Texas reopens for business.

“Wear a mask. Don’t gather. Stay home if you can. And please just listen to the federal guidelines,” Tulip said. “Because what Governor Abbott is doing is not safe.”


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