HOUSTON - As doctors in Houston and across the state express concern about the number of rising COVID-19
cases, Mayor Sylvester Turner today joined other Texas mayors in a letter urging Gov. Greg Abbott to give them the authority to require face masks to protect their cities from coronavirus.
The letter signed by nine mayors states, "We are writing
to you for the authority to set rules and regulations on the use of face coverings in each of our cities. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the best option. We should trust local officials to make informed choices about health policy. And if mayors are given
the opportunity to require face coverings, we believe our cities will be ready to help reduce the spread of this disease."
A copy of the letter can be found here.
The governor had not responded by Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the Houston Health Department reported 233 new cases of COVID-19 cases, bringing Houston’s
total to 10,318. The total number of deaths increased by two to 162.
Turner encourages all Houstonians to wear face coverings, practice
social distancing and good hygiene.
June 16, 2020 The Honorable Greg Abbott Governor of Texas P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711 Dear Governor Abbott, Thank
you for your leadership during these challenging times. Our cities benefited immensely from a coordinated, cooperative effort with each other in the early stages of our fight against COVID-19. With the increase in testing, we are naturally seeing more people
being diagnosed with COVID-19, and some areas are seeing confirmed cases increasing more rapidly than testing. While it’s important to get our economy working again, we must also take precautions to avoid a massive influx of new cases overwhelming our
hospitals. That’s why we are writing to you today about one of the best ways to keep businesses open and people safe from COVID-19: the wearing of facemasks. This one step could prove to be the most effective way to prevent the transmission of this disease.
Yet many people in many of our cities are still refusing to wear these face coverings even though these coverings are scientifically proven to help prevent the disease from spreading. We are writing to you for the authority to set rules and regulations on
the use of face coverings in each of our cities. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the best option. We should trust local officials to make informed choices about health policy. And if mayors are given the opportunity to require face coverings, we believe
our cities will be ready to help reduce the spread of this disease. We think you would agree that a healthy economy starts with healthy people. If you do not have plans to mandate face coverings statewide, we ask that you restore the ability for local authorities
to enforce the wearing of face coverings in public venues where physical distancing cannot be practiced. We appreciate your consideration in allowing for a more nuanced and tailored recovery so that our cities, state, and nation can heal as quickly as possible.
Sincerely, Sylvester Turner, Mayor City of Houston Ron Nirenberg, Mayor City of San Antonio Steve Adler, Mayor City of Austin Eric Johnson, Mayor City of Dallas Betsy Price, Mayor City of Fort Worth Dee Margo, Mayor City of El Paso Jeff Williams, Mayor City
of Arlington Harry LaRosiliere, Mayor City of Plano Ron Jensen, Mayor City of Grand Prairie