Austin Mayor Adler responds to Gov. Abbott's plan to reopen Texas

Austin Mayor Steve Adler appeared on Good Day Austin to talk to FOX 7 Austin's Dave Froehlich about the coronavirus and covered topics including Governor Greg Abbott's plan to reopen Texas as well as recent protests in Austin.

In terms of how Austin is doing in its battle to combat the spread of COVID-19, the mayor says that there are signals that the city is leveling off and that the community has overall responded well in helping to flatten the curve and keep the health system from being overwhelmed.

RELATED: Austin Mayor Adler releasing online video series to keep public informed on COVID-19


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Mayor Adler notes however that too many people are still getting sick and dying and that there is still a lot of work to do. He says testing is of the utmost importance and that the goals continue to be to find the virus, isolate it and treat it.

The mayor also said he remains "comfortable" with Governor Abbott's plan to get Texas businesses back open and reiterated that most of what's been proposed is consistent to what's already being done in Austin. 

RELATED: TIMELINE: Texas' continued response to COVID-19 pandemic

Mayor Adler says though that it's important to proceed with caution and "listen to the scientists and look at the data."

"We have to be really careful about what we do to make sure that we don’t undo the incredibly good work that everybody has done in Austin and around the state," Adler says.

The mayor did express concern about the recent protests at the State Capitol. He says that if there was a presence of the coronavirus there that it would be nearly impossible to trace because it's hard to know who exactly was there and who was in contact with whom.

Mayor Adler says he understands and sympathizes with people's desire to restart the economy and respects people's First Amendment rights but he feels people should be expressing themselves in different ways that don't require gathering in large groups.

The mayor says "it's not taking a risk for themselves, it's taking a risk for the entire community."

RELATED: Protesters gather to ask Gov. Abbott to reopen Texas businesses

Mayor Adler spoke to FOX 7 Austin's Casey Claiborne about the governor's plan as well and it echoed the opinions he shared with FOX 7 Austin's Dave Froehlich.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott announces plans to reopen businesses in Texas

Mayor Adler said that Gov. Abbott's plan is not that different than what's already happening in the city of Austin.

"The kinds of things that the governor talked about were things that were not inconsistent with what we've been doing here initially," Adler says.

Among them, Adler mentioned the reopening of state parks on April 20 with the requirements including that visitors must wear face masks and that they must also maintain social distance of six feet with people not within their family group. Adler said those rules are already in place for parks in Austin.

RELATED: Parking reduced at Austin parks, Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake converted to 'one-way'

Adler also noted Abbott's ideas of loosening medical procedures restrictions and of reopening some retail businesses. He said both of those things have been discussed and are being looked at to implement in Austin.

The mayor did say that he is hoping the governor will provide more details about testing and contract tracing as well as more details on how to protect the people most susceptible to COVID-19. He said that dealing with those issues will be vital in order to be able to start changing behaviors and getting back to a sense of normal life before the coronavirus.

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Adler noted that he agreed that the pace of reopening must be done at a slow pace because as he says "this community has worked way too hard for way too long" but that there is still work to do. He says there will need to be some measures that have been decided in advance so that if they're met that we pull back to where we are now.

He reminded people to continue to follow social distancing guidelines and to remember to wear a face mask when out in public and around others.



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