The mayor of Austin, Texas, pressed against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit regarding indoor dining and said doctors pleaded for restrictions in a statement.
Paxton petitioned Wednesday to stop enforcement of the order Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown issued, the press release said. The order shuts down “dine-in food and beverage services” from 10:30 p.m. until 6 a.m starting New Year’s Eve until Jan. 3. (RELATED: Austin Mayor Flew Private To Cabo San Lucas Where He Filmed Himself Telling Citizens To ‘Stay Home’)
“The fact that these two local leaders released their orders at night and on the eve of a major holiday shows how much contempt they have for Texans and local businesses. They think breaking the law is a game of running the clock before anyone can do anything about it,” Paxton said in the press release.
Paxton said people’s lives and means hang in the balance and said he’ll keep protecting Texas citizens “against the arbitrariness of the mayor and county judge,” the press release said.
Violations of the order could be punished by fines up to $1,000, but no prison time, according to a Tuesday statement. The order permits any business serving food or drinks to continue “drive-thru, curbside pick-up, take-out, or delivery service” during restricted hours.
“The situation is critical,” Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority said in the statement. “We are asking the public to stay home as much as possible and not gather with people outside their households for New Year’s Eve. We are asking people to only go out to restaurants for take away, delivery, or drive through services.”
Escott said Austin’s coronavirus spread was out of hand, especially in cases where it’s impossible to wear masks and social distance, the statement said. This situation deems bars and places like bars “extremely concerning over this holiday weekend.”
Paxton cited Abbott’s executive rule, which overrides local coronavirus orders limiting business operations that Abbott’s order permits, the press release said. Abbott’s rule permits Texas businesses to run under particular rules, but doesn’t limit how many hours they are open.
This shutdown order by Austin isn’t allowed. Period.
My executive order stops cities like Austin from arbitrarily shutting down businesses.
The city has a responsibility to enforce existing orders, not make new ones. https://t.co/rm00K1bQQl
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 30, 2020
“Austin’s doctors are worried and exhausted,” Adler said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They have pleaded with County Judge Brown and me to do whatever we can to limit people being unmasked around others not in their households, specifically including while eating and drinking at homes, restaurants and bars.”
Adler said the rules don’t oppose Abbott’s and cities are authorized to respond “to local conditions and protect their residents when the state won’t,” the statement said.
“Hospital capacity is on the line, and a vaccine within reach of our most vulnerable family members and neighbors. This is not a drill — Austin is experiencing uncontrolled spread of the virus,” Adler said in the statement.
Paxton’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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