Austin Mayor Steve Adler last month went on vacation to Mexico with family, as he urged people to stay home amid worsening COVID-19 caseloads in Texas, at one point recording a video during the trip in which he told residents back home that now was “not the time to relax.”
The trip, reported on Wednesday by the Austin American-Statesman, is the latest example of a public official who has pleaded for vigilance in the face of rising cases and hospitalizations across the US seeming to not heed their own guidance.
The mayor later issued a statement apologizing for the trip.
“While I violated no orders or guidelines, I regret this travel,” Adler said. “I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas. But 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, it set a bad example, for which I apologize.”
Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom came under scrutiny for attending a birthday party at a posh restaurant in the wine country near San Francisco as he urged people to stay within their own households.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock flew to Mississippi to visit family for Thanksgiving, despite sending messages on social media and to city staff asking them to avoid traveling for the holiday.
Texas surpassed 9,000 hospitalized virus patients this week for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. More than 15,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday, smashing a single-day record, though state health officials attributed some of that spike to a backlog of results from the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The trip to Cabo San Lucas came after Adler hosted an outdoor wedding and reception with 20 guests for his daughter at a hotel near downtown Austin.
Adler said the attendees had to take a rapid COVID-19 test and maintain social distancing, but added that although masks were distributed at the wedding, all guests were “probably not” wearing them all the time.
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