City officials shocked by crowds in bars, clubs, other places over Memorial Day weekend

Over the weekend here in Austin many people were out and about in and around the city. Bars and many other Texas businesses reopened on May 22, as part of phase two of the states reopening.

City officials say they’re shocked by how crowded bars clubs and other places were this past weekend, especially since COVID-19 cases are going up.

"We have to be careful when we’re going out in public," interim public health authority Dr. Mark Escott said. "We have to wear masks, we have to social distance we can’t crowd bars we can’t crowd pools because if we do that wrong the economy will suffer and so will public health, the message has to be clear."


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Escott says when it comes to warning people the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, there are blurred lines.

On Tuesday morning he applauded Governor Abbott for reopening the economy while encouraging people to do so safely. He says leading by example is critical, and from observation this weekend there’s cause for concern.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler took to Twitter Sunday encouraging everyone to maintain 6 feet distance, and wear a face-covering to give the Governor’s reopening of the economy the best chance to succeed and last.

The attached video shows packed bars Buford’s on 6th and Plaza De Toros R3. He added, “heard these weren’t the only two packed places.”

"Now I don’t understand why many of the lake goers and people you see on the newscast, you see a shot on the 10 o'clock news," Precinct 3 County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty said. "You go to Lake Travis and there are 14 tethered boats and you can walk from one boat to the next. I don't know what you have to do to get through to those people, unless it’s martial law and that’s not going to happen. It’s unbelievable people that know better that’s not something they ought to do."


That isn’t the case at all businesses. A Dripping Springs dance hall re-opened with a band and dancing while enforcing social distancing measures.

"It really does require repetitive messages for folks to understand and receive that message. People have different meanings of risk and different levels of sophistication in learning the data," Escott said. "The reality is we are going to live with this for at least the next 9 months before there’s a real substantial chance of having a vaccine."

RELATED: Record single-day spike in Austin-Travis County COVID-19 cases

Dr. Escott says for the next year we are going to have to be very careful when we are outside our homes, and that message has not changed.


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