EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Mayor Oscar Leeser pleaded with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to reconsider a decision to rescind mask mandates in an open letter Thursday night.  

“”The use of facemasks will aid, not hinder, operation of businesses in our community,” Leeser wrote. “I am a business owner. You will find no stronger advocate for business than I am. But I want to keep my employees safe and I want my customers to feel safe.” 

In his initial paragraphs, Leeser writes that his brother did not wear a facemask while visiting his mother the night before she passed away. The family was not sure if she was infected with COVID-19, but Leeser suspected she was, he wrote. 

“”I implored them to wear a facemask,” he wrote. “My sisters wore a facemask and were not infected. My brother did not wear a mask. Sadly, we lost my brother on Christmas Eve.”  

On Tuesday, Abbott announced he was lifting mask mandates throughout the state and that businesses could return to full operation. The decision prompted feedback from local officials who were critical of the decision.

You can read the letter in full below or by downloading it here: