Austinites were vocal after news broke that their mayor, Steve Adler, failed to follow his own pandemic advice.
Adler hosted an outdoor wedding and reception with 20 guests for his daughter downtown in early November, Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski reported on Wednesday. The next morning, Adler and seven other attendees traveled by private jet to Cabo San Lucas, where they vacationed at a family timeshare, according to the newspaper.
Publicly, the mayor was asking Austinites to stay home as the COVID-19 caseloads in Austin and around the state climbed upward. "You need to stay home if you can," he said during a pre-recorded video message posted to his Facebook page on Nov. 9. "This is not the time to relax."
The next week, local health officials recommended a return to Stage 4, according to Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines.
Adler has since expressed regret in a statement. But it did little to stop the flood of comments online.
Criticism came in from his opponents.
@MayorAdler I'd like to report a gathering of more than 10, which breaks the COVID rules outlined in the attached c… https://t.co/oD956eg6w5— Brad Swail (@Brad Swail) 1606941690.0
NOT A JOKE: Austin Mayor Tells Residents to ‘Stay Home’ While Vacationing in Mexico After Wedding https://t.co/0hA1TfFHXv— Sean Hannity (@Sean Hannity) 1606945600.0
Many of his supporters were also unhappy.
I say this as someone who is very happy with a few of the stances he has taken: Mayor Adler should resign. He of c… https://t.co/sX8pU9uZAJ— Austin Transit Blog (@Austin Transit Blog) 1606946021.0
Unfortunately, it appears this applies to Mayor Adler as well. By violating his own COVID advice, he's likely hurt… https://t.co/ptZf5PcaoX— Pay People To Stay Home #PPTSH (@Pay People To Stay Home #PPTSH) 1606942890.0
Yeah I’ve given @MayorAdler the benefit of the doubt and fought off the “Recall Adler” crowd, but straight up, this… https://t.co/F6F2pKPWke— C (@C) 1606938784.0
Some expressed frustration about the sacrifices many have made—including forgoing vacations and family events—because of the pandemic.
More than 200 people had commented on a news story about the incident on Reddit's Everything Austin channel.(Reddit)
Some called for Adler to resign.
Adler needs to resign.— Maybe: Dago (@Maybe: Dago) 1606940403.0
The incident has drawn comparisons to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who attended a birthday party at the Michelin starred French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley last month; the incident was covered by national outlets.
Other local officials have come under fire for similar reasons.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor last month for violating his own stay-at-home order earlier this year. And the Travis County GOP hosted a fundraiser in August that was attended by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Reps Dan Crenshaw and Chip Roy, among others, and prompted an investigation by local officials.
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- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
- Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."