AUSTIN, Texas - Bars have been closed for months now. However, many of them have reopened under the guise of restaurants staying open until 2 am. With that, the county judge and mayor decided to issue a three-day curfew ahead of New Year's Eve.
"Last night Mayor Steve Adler and I issued new orders limiting dine-in food and beverage services between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. This order is set to run between Dec. 31 and Jan. 3. Under this order businesses will have to end indoor and outdoor dine-in food and beverage services between those hours," said Judge Andy Brown.
Takeout, curbside, drive-through, and delivery are still allowed during those hours. Judge Brown says now is the time for the community to sacrifice big celebrations for the greater good.
"When Dr. Escott gets concerned, when Dr. Hayden, an ICU doctor and a pulmonologist get concerned I get concerned," said Brown.
"In the last eight days, the number of people in our ICU is up 50 percent. Our positivity rate as a community is at 13 percent and increasing," said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority, Austin Public Health.
But Governor Greg Abbott immediately tweeted that the order is not allowed, saying his executive order prevents this from happening. Ken Paxton, writing a letter threatening legal action if the city doesn't rescind the orders.
"Whatever happens, the lawyers in our system will work through those," said Mayor Steve Adler.
A spokesperson for the county tells FOX 7 Austin the county orders are narrowly tailored, and much less restrictive than El Paso's and orders issued in Bexar County. They believe the governor is cherry-picking. "That does not violate the order because it is just an operational constraint," said Adler.
Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against the city. The legal battle may be brewing...but in the meantime, officials still urge Austin residents to go home on New Year's Eve, and do not host parties.