Mayors of big cities in Texas ask Gov. Abbott to let them regulate face masks as COVID-19 caseloads rise
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, along with the mayors of eight other large Texas cities, sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott today asking for the authority to regulate the use of face coverings in their cities, which they are currently not able to do.
"We should trust local officials to make informed choices about health policy," the group wrote. "And if mayors are given the opportunity to require face coverings, we believe our cities will be ready to help reduce the spread of this disease."
Adler shared the letter on Twitter shortly after a virtual press conference, during which Abbott both recommended that Texans wear face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19 and said he would not allow local governments to require them to do so.
"COVID-19 still exists in Texas, and if we are to contain the spread while getting Texans back to work, all Texans must do their part," Abbott said. "The more Texans protect their own health, the safer our state will be, and the more we will be able to open up for business."
Governor Abbott today reinforced the importance of everyone wearing masking to keep the economy opening. Mayors of… https://t.co/an0IJMy3U0— Mayor Adler (@Mayor Adler)1592337415.0
The letter campaign arrives after a documented spike in new confirmed COVID-19 cases and four consecutive days of record-breaking hospitalization rates at the state level. Texas reported 2,622 new cases today, an all-time high.
While Abbott said he is not concerned about the "abundant hospital capacity that exists to treat Texans," local officials are worried that these rates may continue to rise—leading to an overwhelmed health care system.
"Once we enter this trajectory, it's very difficult to get out," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said last week.
- Austin to extend stay-at-home orders—including unenforceable ... ›
- Travis County requires masks in county facilities - austonia ›
- With rising hospitalizations, Austin officials warn of surge - austonia ›
- Austin will require masks at businesses - austonia ›
An Austin man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for stalking and sending threatening letters and emails to pop star Taylor Swift's former record label.
Marisela Maddox is no stranger to the nanny game, having hired at-home caregivers in the past to help with her two children, ages 5 and 10.
- Austin parents weigh return to school without clear guidance ... ›
- Child care facilities can start up now, Abbott says; bars, bingo halls ... ›
- Day care centers face money woes even as Texas parents go back to ›
- Texas reinstates COVID-19 safety rules for child care centers ... ›
As some children gear up to head back to school, many parents are wondering what to expect next with their child's learning.
For Ashley McGuire, mother of 6-year-old Mason, in-person schooling can't come quickly enough. The online process, she said, is lonely and has been frustrating for everyone in the family.
- Austin teens face unique challenges in high school decision - austonia ›
- Austin sees uptick in new COVID cases among 10-19 age group ... ›
- Flu season: Austin health officials are focused on vaccines - austonia ›
Former University of Texas men's tennis coach Michael Center is in a Texas halfway house and set to be released in October after serving six months in federal prison for falsely designating a wealthy West Coast student as a Longhorns recruit.
College athletes get a win with Election Day off every year, effort led by local NBA champ Chris Bosh
In a historic win for college athletes and voter advocates, led by former NBA champion and Austinite Chris Bosh, the NCAA voted this week to require an annual November Election Day "off day" for Division 1 student athletes to vote or volunteer in election activities if they choose.
The Austin Trail of Lights—an annual event that transforms Zilker Park into a winter wonderland, featuring more than 60 displays and two million lights—will take place this holiday season, despite the pandemic.
- Reeling from canceled festivals, Austin's small businesses find new ... ›
- ACL cancels 2020 event, will offer refunds - austonia ›
- Devastated Austin tourism may take years to recover - austonia ›
- Nearly 100 Austin festivals canceled, postponed or at risk as ... ›
- Mass events in Austin likely canceled through December, Escott says ›