Austin Mayor Steve Adler got a brutal reality check from Texas Governor Greg Abbott after trying to shut down the city on New Year’s Eve.
Even though Adler is a mayor of the heavily Democrat city of Austin, he’s still a Mayor in the heavily Republican state of Texas, and Abbott isn’t allowing him to get away with hard-left nonsense.
Adler tried to shut down the city on New year’s eve by issuing and order to restaurants looking to allow Austinites to celebrate the last moments of 2020 and the first moments of 2021. The order stops all dine-in services from 10:30 p.m. to 6.a.m. until January 3.
Any business in violation of this order will be fined $1,000.
When news of this got to Abbott, he made it clear that there will be no shutting down of the city. “Period.”
“This shutdown order by Austin isn’t allowed. Period. My executive order stops cities like Austin from arbitrarily shutting down businesses,” Abbott tweeted. “The city has a responsibility to enforce existing orders, not make new ones.”
To make sure the Governor’s orders were followed, Texas AG Ken Paxton threatened the city with a legal action in a letter if Adler attempts to follow through with his order.
He cc’d Travis County Judge Andy Brown who extended Adler’s order to the entire county with :
Last night, you issued city and county orders enacting a four-day shutdown of dine-in food and beverage services from 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. from December 31, 2020 through January 3, 2021. See City Order No. 20201229-024; County Judge Order 2020-24. Your orders violate Governor Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-32. You must rescind or modify the local orders immediately or face imminent legal action from the State.
Executive Order No. GA-32 “supersede[s] any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster, but only to the extent that such a local order restricts services allowed by th[e] executive order.” GA-32 at 5. Under GA-32, “[e]very business establishment in Texas shall operate” under certain protocols, but without limitations on those establishments’ hours of operation. Yet your orders shut down dine-in food and beverage services during specific dates and times. The orders “restrict services allowed by” GA-32 and are thus unlawful and unenforceable.
Again, you must immediately rescind or, at a minimum, modify your orders to fully comply with GA-32. We are open to conferring with you before 12:30 p.m. today. Otherwise I, on behalf of the State of Texas, will take legal action against you.
The Texas Restaurant Association released a statement thanking Abbott for his decision to supersede Adler’s lockdown orders in a series of tweets.
“We are very grateful to @GovAbbott and @KenPaxtonTX for defending Austin restaurants,” tweeted the TRA. “Restaurants are deeply invested within their communities, and so they continue to do all they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19, often at tremendous cost. As such, we cannot support policies that are not rooted in data and are unlikely to decrease the spread even as they further devastate the local businesses that make Austin special.”
“Closing indoor dining will not prevent holiday celebrations; it will simply move them from highly regulated businesses into completely unregulated spaces at a critical time in our COVID-19 response,” they continued. “The public is exhausted and confused, and it’s past time that our leaders stop looking for scapegoats and rally around those prevention strategies that we know work like wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding unregulated gatherings.”