The Texas AG sued the city of Austin on Wednesday after local officials imposed new restrictions on Covid-19 on New Year’s Eve for eateries.
Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, has filed a petition for a temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order in Travis County District Court against the directive, which restricts restaurants to transit, pick-up, drop-off and delivery services between 22: 30 to 06:00 from Thursday to Sunday.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown, both Democrats, introduced the new four-day restriction to restrict social gatherings during the holiday weekend, after the state reported record number of hospitalizations and new cases.
Paxton said in a letter on Wednesday that the new directive violated a previous order from Gov. Greg Abbott and ordered both officials to revoke or amend the order.
“Mayor Adler and Judge Brown do not have the authority to oppose the Abbott government’s executive orders by striking businesses in Travis County and our capital,” Paxton said in a statement. “The fact that these two local leaders announced their orders at night and on the eve of a big holiday shows how much contempt they have for Texans and local businesses.”
Paxton’s lawsuits cite Adler, Brown, the city of Austin and Travis County as defendants.
Adler said Wednesday he consulted doctors, educators and city attorneys and called the city of Austin in a critical condition.
“We are now facing our most dangerous boom prospects,” he told a news conference.
Brown called the order ‘the closest thing we could think of’ to limit the spread of the coronavirus during New Year’s weekend.
Dr. Mark Escott, medical director of the city of Austin and Travis County, urged residents to “stay at home as much as possible and not get along with people outside their households.”
“We are now experiencing uncontrolled distribution of COVID-19 by the community, especially in circumstances where masking and distance are not possible, making bursts and similar ventures extremely worrying during this holiday weekend,” Escott said in a statement.
According to the Texas Covid-19 dashboard, Texas on Tuesday recorded a record nearly 12,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 new cases of Covid-19.
According to the data, Travis County recorded a total of 49,648 confirmed cases and 534 deaths as of Thursday.