Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he regrets vacationing in Mexico last month even as he was warning residents of his city to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel to slow the spread of the coronavirus as cases continue to rise.
While he was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with a group of eight family members, Adler recorded a video message urging the public to stay home that was posted to his Facebook page on November 9, ABC’s Austin affiliate KVUE reported.
“The numbers are going up, maybe getting a little bit more concerning than they have been in the past, still not in a red zone yet, but something we can see potentially happening,” Adler, a Democrat, said in his video message.
“We need to stay home if you can. Do everything you can to try to keep the numbers down. This is not the time to relax,” the mayor said.
The mayor also warned that “we may have to close things down if we’re not careful,” adding that he would like to be able to use contact tracing in order to be “surgical” about which problematic places in the city to close temporarily.
On Wednesday, Adler told The Hill that he regrets taking the vacation and said he did not travel over Thanksgiving and does not plan to do so over Christmas.
“I regret this travel,” the mayor said, adding that “my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior.”
“In hindsight, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize,” Adler said.
Adler, who went on vacation just after he hosted his daughter’s wedding in Austin, initially defended his actions, assuring that he did not violate either his own or any of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s social distancing and quarantine orders. Adler also said he took several safety precautions for his guests in Cabo San Lucas, including rapid coronavirus testing.
A day after Adler and his immediate and extended family left for Cabo, Austin’s top doctor, Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott, issued public guidance discouraging travel.
“If you are going to go out to a restaurant, go out with your family, the people who live in your household, not the family or friends who don’t live in your household. And start to decrease those travels outside of your home that are not necessary.”
On Tuesday, Austin-Travis County health officials reported 380 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day increase in new cases since July 21, when the country recorded 603 new cases. Hospitalizations have also risen in Austin.