COVID-19 cases are quickly on the rise in Texas, and even as Gov. Abbott continues to dismiss all the CDC recommendations on the importance of masks, some mayors in the Lone Star State are taking action.
Sylvester Turner has been the mayor of Houston since 2016 and a member of the Democratic Party. He has faced two of the biggest crises in the history of the city: Hurricane Harvey and COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Mayor Turner released a memo in which he told city employees that they again must wear masks when they are at work and unable to socially distance themselves.
“Therefore, effective Wednesday, August 4, 2021, all city employees able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall wear a face covering that fully covers the individual’s nose and mouth upon entering the city premises and while on city premises in an area where social distance measures are difficult to maintain,” Turner wrote in the memo.
Gov. Abbott had just signed an executive order last week that supposedly banned such mandates. However, Houston City Attorney Arturo Michel argued that the governor had exceeded his authority by forbidding such requirements, and therefore the city of Houston could impose mandates as the one Mayor Turner announced on Monday.
“In particular, the Governor has no authority to suspend the disaster authority of local governments that the Legislature has expressly given them” Michel stated.
Just a few days ago, the CDC updated its criteria and stated that even vaccinated people can spread the virus just as easily as unvaccinated citizens, even if breakthrough infections are very rare. However, it is recommended that all citizens should continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
In spite of the 64,753 new cases Texas reported last week and hospitalizations growing from around 3,600 to more than 5,600, Gov. Abbott still refuses to impose a mask mandate. President Biden heavily criticized Gov. Abbott for it and even when as far as to ask him to help fight COVID or get out of the way.