Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner's Statement on Governor Abbott's Plans to Reopen the State During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Listen to Mayor Sylvester Turner, Dr. David Persse, Chief Medical Officer, City of Houston and Fire Chief Sam Pena provide an update on the City's response to COVID-19.

September 17, 2020 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner today released the following statement in response to Governor Abbott's announcement about reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I listened to Gov. Abbott's announcement and believe the plan is a little more aggressive than I would prefer in announcing the next round of reopenings. The virus is still in our community. The state has taken an approach that comes with high risk.

The governor is only utilizing the number of hospitalizations as the primary matrix to make decisions about reopening, and hospitalizations represent a lagging indicator.

We have been here before. Our hospitalizations were low at the end of April, but then those numbers shot up, and the results were horrendous. Houston is still reporting too many positive cases and deaths at a level higher than in March, April, and May.

This is not the time to take a victory lap, because it undermines the messages we have given the public to take this virus seriously and mask up and get tested.

If people think we have conquered the virus, it makes it more challenging to get them to continue to wear face masks, stay home if they are sick, wash their hands, and get tested – all the measures we need them to take to contain the virus until there is a vaccine."

Mayor Turner also announced the death of 10-year Houston Airport System employee Richard Sable from COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City of Houston has lost seven municipal employees and three Houston firefighters as a result of the coronavirus.

"I ask all Houstonians to keep Richard Sable's family and former colleagues in your thoughts and prayers," Mayor Turner said. "Please honor all victims, especially City employees, who lost their lives as a result of COVID-19."

Richard Sable