Austin, TX--Austin gets to stay weird a little bit longer by keeping its mask mandate in place. To recap recent events, Governor Greg Abbott opened the State of Texas 100% and put the decision back in the hands of local businesses as to whether they would enforce patrons to wear a mask in their local businesses.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said not so fast, referring to the decision as reckless. Regarding Governor Abbott, Mayor Adler has harsh wording, "The Governor's power is wide, but does not allow him to wave any law he wants." Mayor Adler says that the science and the data reflect wearing a mask still makes good sense.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opened a lawsuit calling the Mayor's ruling unconstitutional. A request for a temporary block of the local mandate. Paxton is expected to appeal the decision. The judge in the case, District Judge Lora Livingston has yet to issue a final ruling on the merits of the case, meaning Austin and Travis officials may later be told to comply with state officials.
It seems everyone is trying to buy time. Time for what? Time for more people to get vaccinated. While vaccinations, in general, are a good thing, people are frustrated that Austinites, especially children may be required to receive the vaccine in order to enter the school building next year. The fastest approved vaccine in history is likely going to be forced upon people who don't feel safe accepting the shot and aren't eligible to receive it (yet).
Frustration abounds for multitudes of reasons, mostly because people feel uncomfortable with other people making decisions for them regarding their health. The general sentiment is that health is a personal decision and one that shouldn't be forced upon people.
Most local businesses don't feel they have the support they need to enforce the mask request for local patrons who want to visit their stores since the Governor's life the mask mandate. Common sense is being called for and people are grateful for Austin Mayor Steve Adler standing up to the Governor's call.
Seems odd to force a vaccine requirement, yet not force a mask requirement. A lot of people are shaking their heads. Local businesses want their patrons to wear a mask.
Screenshot captured by author.
While the sentiment is tongue-in-cheek, it is also clear. Wear a mask in Austin. We're weird and we like it that way. If you don't want to wear a mask you don't have to enter or do business at establishments that make the request. But, in most businesses, the request is not optional. Patrons are asked to put on their common sense hat and be a good sport by putting on their masks before entering.
Accept some people would rather fight than put a simple piece of cloth across their face. One Texas woman, strong in her conviction to not wear a mask, was arrested twice within one week for lack of compliance
Terry Wright, 65, already had a warrant out for her arrest after she refused to wear a mask in a Bank of America branch in Galveston, Texas. ABC News says Wright's bond was set at $3,000 on the misdemeanor charges, police said. She was held in the Galveston County Jail.
It seems like it would be easier and simpler to put on a mask. Certainly in Wright's case, it would be cheaper.
To be clear, a buff as a fashion statement that you can comply with the request at any moment is not the same thing.
Is it a case of principles? If so, some principles are more costly than others. Not wearing a mask could cost individuals a lot of money.
The number of confirmed cases is currently on the rise again in Williamson County. For now, in Austin and Travis County, it's clear they get to stay weird by wearing masks, at least for a little bit longer.