Texas Governor Greg Abbott banned masked mandates. Even so, Austin stayed.
U.S. COVID-19 cases are picking up again, increasing by about 12 percent in the past week, and U.S. health officials are warning of a fourth wave of the pandemic. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky said Monday she fears “an impending fate” and President Biden urged states and local governments to maintain or reintroduce mask mandates. “Please, this is not a policy,” said Biden. “If we don’t take this virus seriously – which is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place – we risk more cases and more deaths.” “Many states and cities are withdrawing mask mandates,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief physician, told Politico. “And what we really want to say is just hold out a little longer.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) ended almost all COVID-19 security restrictions, including local mask mandates, on March 10, when cases were still declining nationwide. Austin and Travis County said they would continue to require the use of public masks, which led to an immediate lawsuit from Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). Last Friday, District Judge Lora Livingston was at least temporarily on Austin’s side, denying Paxton’s motion for an injunction while she pondered the merits of the case. Austin wins. “Every day we can maintain the mask mandate from the local health department is a victory,” Austin mayor Steve Adler told The Texas Tribune. “The fact that we have been able to hold it in place for the past two weeks over the spring break is a win for as long as it takes.” “The debate over who has authority to issue local health codes is a well-known political one,” reports the Washington Post, and in Texas, Republicans control the state government and Democrats control major cities. Austin may have won this power struggle, but it still generated costs. At least four groups have canceled conferences or conventions in Austin, citing Abbott’s decision to end mask mandates, reports The Texas Tribune. “These were rooms that were already on the books, and most of what we saw was, ironically, a governor fallout opening the economy,” said Joe Bolash, general manager of the Austin Hilton, which the city claims has received Lost $ 350,000 -created company that runs and manages the hotel. More stories from theweek.comThe Case for Trailer ParkHate the Culture? Stop supporting the GOP. Biden nominated his first list of federal judges, including a successor to Merrick Garland