Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city of Austin after trying to limit the diner restaurant to four days on New Year’s weekend.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Any Brown put in place temporary restrictions on drive-through, curb, and take-out on restaurants between Thursday and Sunday between 10:30 PM and 6:00 AM – and limit delivery service after Texas reported a record number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
“Mayor Adler and Judge Brown have no authority to disobey [Governor Greg Abbott’s] Executive orders by closing businesses in Travis County and our state’s capital, ”Paxton said in a statement Wednesday.
“The fact that these two local leaders released their orders one night and on the eve of a major holiday shows how much they despise Texans and local businesses.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction and an injunction against the new rules.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also criticized the new rules.
“This shutdown order from Austin is not allowed. Period, ”he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “My executive order prevents cities like Austin from arbitrarily closing companies. The city has the responsibility to enforce existing orders and not to issue new ones. “
Mr. Adler said he put the restrictions in place after consulting with medical experts and other frontline workers because Austin was in “critical” condition.
Judge Brown, meanwhile, described the order as “the closest we can think of” to limit the spread of the coronavirus over the normally busy holiday weekend.
In response to the lawsuit, Mr. Adler said the state was not doing enough.
“If the state does not want to act, the communities must be able to act to protect themselves. Tomorrow this will be the subject that is in court, “said Adler in a livestream on Wednesday.
“Even if tomorrow the court decides that everyone has the right to go out on the governor’s orders and take off their masks when you are with other people in a restaurant on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, that doesn’t mean you do this do it.
“We’re asking everyone in this community to really think carefully about what they are doing and what they can do to make a contribution at this peak time.”
Austin medical authorities have warned that more gatherings could be dangerous.
“The situation is critical,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County’s Provisional Health Authority, in a statement accompanying the changes.
“We are now witnessing uncontrolled, widespread transmission of Covid-19 in the community, especially in circumstances where masking and distancing are not possible, making bars and similar establishments extremely worrying this holiday weekend.”
As in much of the country, cases in Texas have risen to higher levels since the fall than ever before.
There were more than 14,000 new cases as of December 31, according to state data, and more than 100 people have died a day since November.