Mayor Adler ‘nervous’ about mass gatherings on Labor Day even as COVID-19 cases drop in Austin

Austin
Mayor Adler at Austin rally 6-7-20

Austin Mayor Steve Adler attended the Austin Black Voices rally in downtown Austin Sunday, June 7 (Todd Bailey/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler has admitted he is “nervous” about groups of people gathering on Labor Day, even with COVID-19 cases gradually declining in Austin and Travis County.

This week, the area moved from Stage 4 to Stage 3 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines due to the positivity rate falling to 7.6% – though it remains above the 5% mark that health officials are targeting.

But despite the optimistic signs, the Mayor acknowledged his nerves ahead of another holiday weekend.

He previously said that Memorial Day was “treated like a coming home kind of party” that directly contributed to the number of cases rising.

“I’ll be honest, I’m nervous,” Mayor Adler wrote in his weekly newsletter.

“I am nervous about families and friends getting together in large groups for Labor Day.

“I’m worried about the many students coming back to Austin. While schools are working hard to mitigate risk, I’m worried returning students who have not been living with us will not know of or join in the masking and distancing discipline we’ve all learned.”

He also expressed concern about Gov. Greg Abbott’s order making it easier for bars to reopen.

However, the Mayor also acknowledged that the move to Stage 3 indicates that there is “less risk” in going to reopened businesses, such as restaurants.

In the newsletter, he urged people to continue wearing masks and social distancing.

Health officials have repeatedly stressed the importance of the positivity rate dropping to below 5% by September 8, “when most Austin-Travis County students start their school year,” Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said.

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