Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner Recommends Caution as the State of Texas Prepares to Announce the Next Steps in Opening Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 2, 2020 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the following statement today about the state's expanded COVID-19 reopening plan, which is expected to be announced next week.

"We must remain vigilant and not reverse the hard work we have done to reduce COVID-19 positive cases and deaths. In March and April, cities and counties worked together with the media to slow the coronavirus progression. We were successful, and our numbers were better than those of most major cities around the country.  Because the number of positive cases and deaths were low, the Governor commenced reopening businesses without consulting with local governments. In addition, he took away the authority from cities and counties to manage the response.  The results were disastrous.

"Thirty days later, the virus was out of control like a forest fire, and more people tested positive, more people died, and hospitals were scrambling to expand capacity. Consequently, the State ordered businesses to close for a second time, and Texas joined Florida, Arizona, and California in the national spotlight but not in the right way. In July, the Governor imposed a statewide mask requirement which was desperately needed, and he should be commended for that.

"And again, cities and counties and local media rallied together with the State to slow the virus's spread. This helped significantly reduce the positivity rate, which needs to be below 5% and stay there. Most of the numbers are better, but the number of people dying is still too high, and the positivity rate remains above 5%.

"And now that numbers are better like in April, the Governor is about to embark on the same course again. It is frustrating that he is making decisions that impact all of us without including local officials in the process. The State is about to repeat its mistake, expecting a different result. Please tell that to the virus and explain that to the people who will suffer."