As Abbott’s order to gut COVID-19 protections takes effect, mayors across Texas condemn Abbott’s reckless decision and urge Texans to continue wearing masks

AUSTIN, Texas — Today, Governor Abbott’s reckless decision to lift all statewide COVID-19 restrictions takes effect. Mayors across Texas have condemned the move as premature and dangerous, and are fighting to put in place protections for their cities:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler had the following comment: “The most effective thing each of us can do to help ensure schools and businesses can continue to open is to wear masks. Austin’s public health authority, Dr. Escott, is responsible for the control of the disease outbreak in Austin/Travis County and we will continue to use the rules he has set forth in helping further mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a joint statement in a letter to Greg Abbott: “Masking requirements have allowed many small businesses to remain open and their employees to return to work. The mask order has allowed more students to return to in-person learning and has better protected them, their teachers and school staff.”

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser also penned a letter to Abbott advising against lifting the mask mandate: “I lost my mother in November. To COVID-19,” he stated, “My brother did not wear a mask. Sadly, we lost him [to the virus] on Christmas Eve.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson issued the following mask mandate for municipal buildings in efforts to continue to slow the spread: “I am going to issue an order mandating masks at all city-owned buildings. We have to do what we are legally allowed to do to get people to wear masks.”

Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio expressed frustration on the lifting the mask mandate: “Opening everything to 100 percent while simultaneously nixing our mask mandate is a huge mistake,” Nirenberg said in a statement. “COVID-19 is still widespread in our community and infecting too many of our vulnerable residents. You don’t cut off your parachute just as you’ve slowed your descent. Please join me in continuing to wear a mask.”

Texas Republicans, led by Greg Abbott, refuse to do their job and keep Texans safe. Texas Democrats continue to fight back.