AUSTIN — Elected officials across the state keep trying to force old and questionable coronavirus requirements on citizens.

As a result of Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s latest order “taking effect” on Monday, business owners must post two new signs on their doors or face a criminal offense and a potential $1,000 fine.

“Help us keep employees safe! Local health officials recommend that you: Wear a Mask; Vaccinate and get boosted against COVID-19,” one sign reads.

The other required display notice is a checklist of various coronavirus mandates, including whether the business requires face coverings or proof of vaccination or testing.  

“A violation of this Order is a violation of Austin City Code Section 2-6-24 and a criminal offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, but not by confinement,” the order reads.

Ironically, Mayor Adler said his decree on businesses was “government getting out of the way of business.”

“Today’s orders authorize businesses to choose for themselves whether they want to require masking or testing, or look at vaccinations, in their own facilities as a way to protect their customers and employees,” Adler said. “This is an example of government getting out of the way of business.”

Citizens reacted.

“An example of government getting out of the way, by forcing private businesses to publicly announce their personal stances on COVID mandates and alienating customers or face a fine of $1,000,” one individual replied to the mayor’s tweets.

“Next, do a weight scale at the door to businesses. No one with a BMI > 30 allowed,” another wrote. “After all, the nanny state needs to make sure they don’t get infected because they may have poor outcomes.”

“We lost our business last year thanks to your ‘safety orders’. Our life savings is gone, years of our lives lost, and now… personal bankruptcy. But hey, at least I don’t have to put up with this garbage anymore,” another citizen replied.

A spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott said businesses can disregard the mayor’s command.

“This municipal order is preempted by Executive Orders GA-38, GA-39, and GA-40 – all of which remain in full effect. Any business would be within its legal rights to ignore this municipal order,” he said in a statement. “Governor Abbott has been clear that the time for mandates is over; now is the time for personal responsibility.”

“Every Texan has a right to choose for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, or get vaccinated,” the spokesman added. “The Governor’s executive orders, again having the full force and effect of law, are enforceable by state and local law enforcement, and our office continues working with the Office of the Attorney General to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans. The best defense against this virus is the COVID vaccines, and we continue to strongly encourage all eligible Texans to get vaccinated.”

Adler’s order comes amid an ongoing feud between Abbott and local officials across the state.

Abbott, who has enacted mask mandates and shutdowns across Texas over the last two years, flipped last July when he proclaimed new executive orders prohibiting such decrees. However, local officials statewide have since responded by disregarding the governor and enacting their own rules, as well as challenging his executive orders in court. A state appeals court ruled against Abbott earlier this month, but the case will be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Though Adler has enacted numerous orders over the past two years, he has already been caught ignoring his own commands. His private-jet vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, during one of his stay-at-home “orders” made national headlines.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.


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