a "disgusted" mayor

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner decries Texas' no-mask move

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner decries Texas' no-mask move

Sylvester Turner mask
Turner blasted the governor's mask order on March 2. Sylvester Turner/Twitter

A passionate Mayor Sylvester Turner took to the podium to decry Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to end mask restrictions next week and open the state 100 percent. His first salvo was on Twitter:

Every time we start moving in the right direction the Governor steps in and sets us back and makes all of our jobs harder. He minimizes the sacrifices of people and businesses. I just don’t get it.

Mayor Turner minced no words at a subsequent March 2 press conference. “I don’t feel defeated, I feel [very] disappointed by the governor,” he said, adding that he felt “disgusted” for families, teachers, workers, and other residents who made the “sacrifice” before this order. “As if the virus is going to stop because the governor said it,” Turner rhetorically asked.

Turner pledged to “do my job” and said he was speaking for those who are vulnerable and susceptible to the virus. He suggested that Abbott was trying to “find favor” with those who politically oppose mask orders.

“Why must we always be out front with these type of decisions,” he asked of the trend of Texas flying in the face of national trends.

Houston’s legal departments will look at city orders for mask orders, Turner noted. In April, Abbott “took away much of the power of local officials,” Turner noted. The mayor also recognized the 35,000 in Texas and 1,800 in Houston who’ve died from the virus and the imminent danger: “...the variant is increasing,” he added. Dr. David Persse, Houston Health Authority, concurred.

In a fiery close, he also decried “mixed messages” from local and state leadership and pointed out that he has heard of no medical professionals who have advocated the removal of masks. 

Meanwhile, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo released this following statement and even suggested that the move is meant to distract from the power grid management catastrophe:

Taking away critical public health interventions that we know are working won't make our community safer, nor will it hasten our return to normalcy. Quite the opposite, every time public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations.

If we start the climb now, we'd be starting from the highest starting point ever when it comes to our hospital population, an unacceptable and dangerous proposition.

With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, we’re inching closer to the finish line of this pandemic - now is not the time to reverse the gains we've worked so hard to achieve.

At best, today’s decision is wishful thinking. At worst, it is a cynical attempt to distract Texans from the failures of state oversight of our power grid.