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[00:00:11]

SHAUNDRA SHAW PIO FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND I AM THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE.

SPANISH INTERPRETATION IS AVAILABLE ON ATX AND THREE.

AND AS A REMINDER, SPEAKERS, PLEASE SPEAK A LITTLE SLOWER THAN USUAL FOR OUR INTERPRETERS TO START CITY OF AUSTIN MAYOR STEVE ADLER WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY TRAVIS COUNTY, JUDGE ANDY BROWN, THEN DR.

JOSE , KEN ZARIFIS, JOY CHEVALLIER CHAP THORTON AND LAURA HOFFMAN.

WE WILL THEN OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOR REPORTER WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIUM MAYOR ADLER OVER TO YOU.

AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS PANDEMIC, GOVERNOR ABBOTT SAID, IT'D BE GUIDED BY THE SCIENCE AND THE DATA.

AND YESTERDAY HE BROKE THAT PROMISE NEARLY UNANIMOUS HEALTH EXPERTS TELL US THAT MASKING IS THE BEST TOOL.

WE HAVE TO STOP THIS VIRUS TO OPEN UP SCHOOLS, TO ALL KIDS IN PERSON TO KEEP BUSINESSES OPEN.

AND NOW THE GOVERNOR'S ACTION HAS PUT THOSE PRIORITIES AT RISK.

THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THE GOVERNOR.

NOW CREATING AN AMBIGUITY WHERE NONE SHOULD EXIST, MASKING WORKS AND IT CONTINUES TO BE NECESSARY.

I AM ESPECIALLY CONCERNED ABOUT FRONTLINE ESSENTIAL WORKERS THAT DON'T EVEN QUALIFY FOR VACCINES BECAUSE THEY'RE UNDER 65 AND COULD BE LEFT NOW DEFENSELESS ON THOSE FRONT LINES, BUT OUR COMMUNITY HAS A CHOICE JUST BECAUSE THE GOVERNOR SAYS IT CAN'T BE MANDATED.

DOESN'T MEAN WE DON'T NEED TO WEAR OUR MASKS.

WE CAN STILL CHOOSE TO WEAR MASKS.

BUSINESSES CAN STILL CHOOSE TO REQUIRE MASKING, JUST LIKE WE HAVE DONE OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS.

NOW IS THE MOMENT FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO PULL TOGETHER, TO HELP PROTECT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER.

LET'S DO IT AGAIN.

THERE IS NO EXPLANATION FOR THE GOVERNOR'S ACTION, OTHER THAN TRYING TO DISTRACT US IN THE MEDIA FROM A FAILURE OF THE STATE TO PROTECT US FROM THE POWER OUTAGE, WE NEED TO FOCUS ON MASKING.

WHEN THE GOVERNOR BREAKS HIS PROMISE TO US, WE MUST MAKE A NEW PROMISE TO ONE ANOTHER MASK UP.

ATX JUDGE BROWN.

THANK YOU.

MA'AM THERE.

AND GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY.

UH, YESTERDAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE GOVERNOR.

IT COMES AT A TIME WHEN THE COMMUNITY IS STILL RECOVERING AND STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF CRISES.

WE JUST WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF A YEAR-LONG COVID PANDEMIC.

WE ARE STILL RECOVERING FROM THE ICE STORM WHERE PEOPLE WERE OUT OF WATER, OUT OF FOOD, AND SOME PEOPLE ARE STILL OUT OF WATER AND OUT OF FOOD BECAUSE OF THE DEVASTATION THAT WE ALL HAD TO GO THROUGH.

OTHER PEOPLE ARE JUST THINKING HOW THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE ENDS MEET BECAUSE THEY HAD TO SPEND THEIR SAVINGS ON HOTELS OR REPAIRS IN THEIR HOMES AND OTHER THINGS TO MAKE, MAKE THEIR LIVES LIVABLE AGAIN.

AND WITH JUST OVER 5% OF OUR COMMUNITY VACCINATED, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE LIFTING THE MASK ORDINANCE.

WE ARE NOT DECLARING VICTORY ON THE PANDEMIC.

WE ARE NOT OVER THE PANDEMIC.

WE NEED TO KEEP WORKING TOGETHER TO VACCINATE OUR ENTIRE POPULATION.

I AM EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF CONTINUING TO WORK WITH EVERYBODY ON THIS CALL WITH THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND OTHERS, TO GET INCREASING VACCINES INTO OUR COMMUNITY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

BUT UNTIL WE GET TO AN 80% VACCINATION RATE IN OUR COMMUNITY, WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE HERD IMMUNITY.

AND SO THIS LIFTING OF THE MASK ORDER IS WAY, WAY TOO SOON.

SO I HOPE THAT EVERYBODY WILL FOLLOW WHAT THE MAYOR SAID AND KEEP WEARING MASKS BECAUSE WE KNOW THEY WORK AND IT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR COMMUNITY STAYS SAFE AND GETS THROUGH THIS PANDEMIC IN THE SAFEST AND QUICKEST WAY POSSIBLE.

THANK YOU.

HI, GOOD MORNING.

UM, UH, I'M A, UH, A HOSPITALIST, UM, UNLIKE THE DOC WHO TAKES CARE OF PATIENTS WHO ARE HOSPITALIZED AT ST DAVID'S.

UM, SO, UM, YOU KNOW, THIS PANDEMIC IS, IS FAR FROM CONTAINED FAR FROM OVER.

UH, WE ARE SEEING A DECREASE IN OUR CASES.

USUALLY WE HAVE TWO DOCS WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO WHAT WE CALL THE COVID SERVICE.

AND LAST WEEK I WAS ONE OF THOSE DOCS.

UM, AND, UH, OUR CASES ARE DOWN, BUT, UH, WE'RE STILL NOT OUT OF THE WOODS.

UM, YOU KNOW, LIFTING THESE RESTRICTIONS, THIS MASS MANDATE IS, BRINGS ALONG A LOT OF

[00:05:01]

RISKS.

UM, IT, IT INCREASES THE RISK OF MORE CASES.

THERE'S ALSO THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT ALL THESE VARIANTS THAT WE'RE SEEING IN OTHER PLACES.

UH, THE MORE CASES THERE ARE, THE MORE CHANCE OF US GETTING A MUTATION OR A VARIANT, UM, WE NEED TO, YOU KNOW, FOLLOW SCIENCE AND DATA AND NOT POLITICS.

UM, YOU KNOW, THIS IS THE CHEAPEST WAY TO PREVENT, YOU KNOW, OUR FRIENDS, OUR NEIGHBORS FROM GETTING SICK.

UM, ONE OUT OF 10 TECH SCENTS ARE YET VACCINATED.

UM, AND INSTEAD OF RELAXING, RELAXING, YOU KNOW, MASK WEARING, WE SHOULD BE MORE DILIGENT BECAUSE WE'RE ACTUALLY, WE'RE DOING BETTER.

UM, AND YOU KNOW, VACCINATION IS ALSO THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT THIS.

UM, WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED.

UM, ALSO UNFORTUNATELY, YOU KNOW, LATINOS AND OTHER MINORITIES, UM, WE ARE UNDERREPRESENTED, SO WE NEED TO INCREASE VACCINATIONS IN THOSE POPULATIONS.

UH, LATINOS ARE FOUR TIMES MORE AT RISK OF GETTING HOSPITALIZED.

THREE TIMES MORE RISK OF DYING IN THE HOSPITAL.

UM, YOU KNOW, HAVING COVID IS SUCH A LONELY DISEASE, YOU KNOW THAT AT WORK, YOU KNOW, YOU SEE PEOPLE COME IN FOR, FOR, YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD SURGERY, YOU BROKE YOUR LEG OR WHATEVER, AND YOU ALWAYS HAVE SOMEBODY AT YOUR SIDE, YOU HAVE YOUR PARTNER, YOU HAVE A FRIEND WITH COVID YOU'RE IN THE HOSPITAL.

YOU HAVE NOBODY, YOU ARE LONELY.

UM, THERE'S NOBODY THERE NEXT TO YOU TO CHAT WITH YOU.

YOU KNOW, THE NURSES, THE DOGS, WE ALL COME IN, ALL GOWNED UP.

IT IS USED THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN LONELIEST DISEASE.

UM, SO AGAIN, SMALL PRICE TO PAY, UM, TO GET AHEAD OF THIS DISEASE.

UM, I'VE BEEN ASKED TO DO THIS IN SPANISH ALSO, SO I'LL BE QUICK.

UM, LA LA DEMIA, UH UH, UH UM, IT'S DONE MOST THE COVID, UM, DAMIEN , UH UH UH UH, AND LUGARDA THERE'S CONCERN.

I GUESS IT MUST BE , UH, AT THE DSA MARSHALL AND WE'LL GO GET ANOTHER DOOR.

UM, KENDALL MANDATO THEY KNOW UM, UH, UH UH UH UH, LATINOS, CASSIE THEN WHAT YOU DO THERE? COBY IS HERE.

ARGUING.

YOU DON'T CONNECT COVID STARTS TOTAL MAINTENANCE SOLO.

NOT IN, NOT IN CONTAINER BLOOD.

YES.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, SIR.

KEN, OVER TO YOU.

GOOD MORNING.

MY NAME'S KENZIE RFS.

I'M PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION, AUSTIN, UH, THE EMPLOYEES UNION GRAY ISD, UM, AND WE NOT ONLY REPRESENT TEACHERS THAT PIVOTED A YEAR AGO TO TRANSFORM THEIR INSTRUCTION TO ONLINE, BUT BUS DRIVERS THAT ARE PROVIDED WIFI TO TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES WITHOUT INTERNET, UH, FOOD

[00:10:01]

SERVICE WORKERS THAT HAVE THERE PREPARED OVER A MILLION MEALS, UH, FOR STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

OVER THE LAST YEAR, WE HAVE A CUSTODIANS.

WE REPRESENT CUSTODIANS THAT HAVE CLEAN FACILITIES REPEATEDLY.

UH, WE HAVE FRONT OFFICE WORKERS THAT HELP TO REOPEN SCHOOLS AND CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR STUDENTS THAT HAVE NOT SHOWN UP TO SCHOOL.

YET.

WE HAVE SERVICE WORKERS THAT ARE KEPT THE POWER ON, EVEN DURING THIS HORRIFIC WINTER STORM AND THROUGH ALL OF THAT, THEY HAVE BEEN MASKED.

WE'VE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THIS CITY TO THE EXTENT THAT WE HAVE STAYED MAST.

WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THIS CITY TO THE EXTENT THAT WE HAVE FOLLOWED SCIENCE.

WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THIS CITY BECAUSE IN SPITE OF STATE LEADERSHIP, WE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW SCIENCE.

MASKING IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO STAY SAFE.

THE REASONS THAT WE ARE STILL AT SOME MEASURE OF SUCCESS IS NOT BECAUSE COVID IS SAFER.

IT IS BECAUSE WE HAVE ACTED SAFER.

NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO DISPENSE WITH THESE EFFORTS.

YOU DON'T STOP RUNNING HALFWAY THROUGH A RACE.

YOU WILL LOSE.

YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP THE EFFORTS.

THE EFFORTS THROUGH MASKING THROUGH FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING THROUGH PPE HAS BEEN A COMMITMENT THE CITY HAS MADE WHEN WE HAVE FAMILIES, 80% OF THEM HAVE CHOSEN TO STAY HOME, TO STAY VIRTUAL IN THEIR SCHOOL INSTRUCTION.

WE KNOW THAT OVERWHELMINGLY THE CITY VALUES SAFETY.

IT IS UNQUESTIONABLE, BUT IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE THAT THE GOVERNOR, SO BRAZENLY HAS COME OUT IN EFFORTS TO ONLY REOPEN BUSINESSES, TO DEFLECT FROM A MASSIVE FAILURE ON THEIR PART, UH, TO PROVIDE ENERGY AND TO PROVIDE THE POWER THAT PEOPLE NEEDED THAT LED TO THE WATER CRISIS AND THE CRISIS THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH, WE MUST CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS.

WE CANNOT ALLOW THE STATE GOVERNMENT TO, TO, TO, TO UNDERMINE WHAT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN AUSTIN.

WE MUST CONTINUE TO MASK UP.

WE MUST CONTINUE TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN, THE WORKERS, AND AISB THE 12,000 WORKERS WORK FOR THE 80,000 STUDENTS THAT HAVE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES, THEIR WORKERS IN AISD OF THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES OF OUR COMMUNITY.

WE MUST STAY MASSED UP.

WE MUST STAY SAFE.

ATX TO DO DIFFERENTLY.

WE KNOW IS NOT WISE.

SO MASK UP ACHY ANNEX MASCOT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH JOY.

UH, GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY.

I'M JULIE CHAVELA, AND I OWN THE COOK SNUCK HERE IN AUSTIN, AND WE PROVIDE, UH, SUPPORT TO ENTREPRENEURS AND CORPORATE BRANDS, UH, AND, UH, FOOD SERVICES TO, UH, ACROSS THE CITY OF AUSTIN AND TO ISD.

AND FOR ME OF US IN OUR ALREADY A HARD HIT FOOD SECTOR, UM, THIS, UH, LIFTING OF, UH, OF THE MASS STATEWIDE, AN ORDINANCE IS A REAL SLAP IN THE FACE FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE, WHO ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS, UM, PROVIDING FOOD AND WATER DAY IN AND DAY OUT ALREADY HAVING TO WORK UNDER COVID AND THEN WITH THE STORMS. AND THEN AS WE ENGAGE AND CONTINUE TO ENGAGE WITH THOSE ACROSS OUR STATE, TO BE TOLD THAT, YOU KNOW, THE MASS CAUSE WE KNOW ARE ESSENTIAL FOR US TO BE ABLE TO, TO GO DO OUR WORK DAY IN AND DAY OUT, UH, MASS THAT KEEP US PROTECTED IS ONE OF THE FEW THINGS THAT KEEP US PROTECTED IN, IN, IN WHAT WE HAVE TO DO, UM, IS LIFTED IS NOT REQUIRED IN THAT EVERYONE CAN GO ABOUT, UH, AND, AND NOT, AND NOT HAVE THEM, UM, IS, IS, IS, IS REALLY HURTFUL ACTUALLY.

UM, AND REALLY DANGEROUS TO US WHILE WE MAY BE ABLE TO WEAR THEM.

WE'RE NOW IN CONTACT WITH MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WHO MAY BE TRANSMITTING, UH, WHO MAY BE CARRYING COVID AND WE TO, AND WE DON'T KNOW IT.

UM, WE HAVE IN OUR STATE, UM, RIGHT NOW, UH, THE LOW AT ONE OF THE LOWEST OF VACCINATION RATES, UH, PRESENTLY, UM, WE STILL HAVE ONE OF THE LOWEST TESTED RATES, UH, IN THE UNITED STATES.

SO EVERY DAY FOR US, IT IS A RISK.

IT IS A CHALLENGE TO GO OUT AND DO WHAT WE DO, UM, AS AN OWNER OF A BUSINESS IN ORDER TO KEEP MY EMPLOYEES SAFE, TO KEEP THOSE AROUND US SAFE, TO KEEP OUR FACILITY OPEN AND AVAILABLE TO OUR ENTREPRENEURS, TO, UM, TO OUR FOOD SERVICES BUSINESS, UM, WE PAY AND WE PAY THAT PPE.

WE PAY FOR THAT SAFETY.

WE, WE, WE HAVE MORE OF THOSE COSTS TO ENSURE, UM, THAT WE KEEP OURSELVES SAFE AND WE KEEP YOU IN THE PUBLIC SAFE

[00:15:01]

AS WELL.

UM, AND SO WE'LL KEEP, WE'LL HAVE TO KEEP DOING THAT.

UM, AS MORE AND MORE PEOPLE, HOPEFULLY DON'T CHOOSE THIS OPTION.

UM, BUT SOME WILL CHOOSE NOT TO WEAR THEIR MASKS.

UM, AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, IT'S NOT MY ROLE TO HAVE TO BE IN, IN MASK ENFORCEMENT OR HAVE TO CHOOSE, YOU KNOW, WHO I'M GOING TO DO BUSINESS WITH, OR TO ASK NOT TO STEP IN OUR FACILITY OR TO HAVE TO KEEP THEM OUT.

BUT YOU'RE ALREADY SEEING AMONGST OUR FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS AND VENUES, THOSE WHO HAVING TO PUT UP SIGNS OR TO MAKE THE PUBLIC CHOICE TO SAY WE ARE STILL GOING TO, UH, LIMIT OUR ENGAGEMENT FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR EMPLOYEES, FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR, OUR VENDORS, PARTNERS AND OTHERS WHO, WHO HAVE TO COME IN.

UM, AND THAT'S A REALLY HARD CHOICE TO MAKE, BUT THEY HAVE TO STAY SAFE AND THEY HAVE NO CHOICE AND THAT THEY'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO ENFORCE MASKS, UM, AND REQUIRE MASKS IN THEIR BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES.

AND WE WILL TOO AT THE, AND THEN, UM, JUST LIKE KEN AND EVERYONE ELSE HAS SAID, AUSTIN HAS HAD THE SUCCESS THAT IT HAS BECAUSE WE HAVE CHOSEN AS A GROUP TO REALLY, REALLY STAY NICE.

AND WE ASKED YOU GUYS TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT IN THE FACE OF OUR STATEMENTS.

AGAIN, OUR STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP SORT OF ABANDONING US TO SORT OF TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.

SO WE ASKED YOU GUYS TO CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASKS AND, UH, TAKE CARE OF US WHO ARE OUT THERE BEING ESSENTIAL AND LIKE DOCTOR I, ALL OF THOSE WERE OUT THERE ON THE FRONT LINES.

SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU, CHAP.

MY NAME IS CHAD MARTIN.

I'M THE BUSINESS MANAGER FOR PLUMBERS AND PIPEFITTERS LOCAL COMMUNITY SIX HERE IN AUSTIN.

WE REPRESENT APPROXIMATELY 1600 MEMBERS, UH, THAT ARE PLUMBERS, PIPE FITTERS, HPAC TECHNICIANS IN THE CENTRAL TEXAS AREA.

UH, AUSTIN, TEXAS, AS WE KNOW IS A BUSY PLACE.

WE CONSTRUCTION WAS, WAS BUSY IN AUSTIN PRIOR TO THE PANDEMIC.

UH, AND, AND WE, WE ALSO WAS SENT OUR ESSENTIAL WORKERS AND BE HONEST WITH YOU.

WE, WE HADN'T SLOWED DOWN IN THE FREEZE EVENT OF A WEEK AND A HALF AGO, DID NOT HELP ANYTHING OR JUST THAT MUCH BECAUSE WE, UH, AS, AS IF YOU LOOK AT CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, UH, WE'RE, WE'RE USED TO W W WE CALL PPE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT.

UH, WE WEAR SAFETY GLASSES TO PROTECT OUR EYES HARD HATS, TO PROTECT OUR HEADS, HIGH VISIBILITY VEST, TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND, AND OTHERS TO MAKE US AWARE THAT WE'RE THERE AS WELL AS, UH, FOOTWEAR AND SUCH AS THAT, UH, THE MASK IS, IS TO US IS JUST BECOME ANOTHER LAYER OF, OF, OF BPE.

WE, WE RECOGNIZE THAT IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND OTHERS.

AND I ASK EVERYONE WITHIN MY ORGANIZATION AND EVERYONE IN THE CITY, PLEASE CONTINUE TO WEAR THAT MASK.

UH, IT, IT PROTECTS YOU, IT PROTECTS OTHERS.

UH, IT'S JUST ANOTHER LAYER OF, OF BB, UH, PLUMBING.

UM, GOOD CLOTHING IS, IS, IS BASED ON SITES.

WE LEARNED A LONG TIME AGO, NO CLEAN WATER COMING INTO OUR HOMES AND BUSINESSES, UH, IS ESSENTIAL TO KEEP US HEALTHY AND, AND GETTING OUR, OUR WASTE PRODUCTS OUT OF THAT BUILDING IS, IS JUST AS ESSENTIAL TO OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY.

AND IT'S AS IS THE MASK.

UH, IT'S, IT'S ESSENTIAL.

UH, WE'RE THERE'S STILL A HAZARD OUT THERE, AND WE, WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO, TO WEAR THAT MASK.

THANK YOU.

AND FINALLY, OVER TO LAURA HUFFMAN.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

MY NAME IS LAURA HUFFMAN, AND I AM THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE GREATER AUSTIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

UH, HAPPY TO BE HERE TODAY.

AND, UH, LET ME START BY SAYING LAST YEAR IN 2020, WHEN WE WERE ALL IN THE MIDST OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW, HOW WE WERE GOING TO LIVE WORK AND HOPEFULLY PLAY DURING THE PANDEMIC, WE FORMED A TASK FORCE OF OVER 200 BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS TO REALLY THINK THROUGH THE ISSUES OF HOW CAN WE MAKE SURE THAT OUR BUSINESSES, UM, ARE AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE, BUT WITH A STRONG EYE TOWARDS PUBLIC HEALTH LEADING, ALWAYS WITH PUBLIC HEALTH.

AND WE LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN LAST SUMMER, WHICH WAS A MASK ON EACH OF US IS A WIN FOR ALL OF US.

UH, WE DO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE PRACTICAL THINGS EACH OF US CAN DO TO KEEP EACH OTHER SAFE AND TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR BUSINESSES REOPENED SAFELY.

ONE OF THOSE IS CHOOSING TO WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC.

UH, WE DO BELIEVE THAT A MASK ON EACH OF US IS IMPORTANT AND WE URGE BUSINESSES TO CONTINUE IMPLEMENTING THOSE MEASURES THAT PROTECT BOTH YOUR EMPLOYEES AND YOUR PATRONS.

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES, THEN I URGE YOU TO RESPECT THE GUIDELINES THAT THEY SET, WHICH ALLOW THEM TO SAFELY OPERATE.

AND WE ARE ENCOURAGING BUSINESSES

[00:20:01]

TO MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING AND TO REQUIRE MASKING.

IF YOU'RE CONCERNED THAT PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO WORK SO THEY CAN PROVIDE THEIR FOR THEIR FAMILIES, THEN WEAR A MASK.

THESE ARE THE PRACTICAL THINGS THAT WE CAN DO AS MEMBERS OF A COMMUNITY FOR ONE ANOTHER.

AND WE'RE ENCOURAGING EVERYONE TO WEAR A MASK.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, LAURA.

NOW WE WILL HAVE OUR POOL REPORTER, MOLLY OAK FROM CAVE VIEW, WHO WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA, MOLLY.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

THANKS FOR MAKING YOURSELF AVAILABLE TO US TODAY.

UH, THE FIRST QUESTION IS FROM KVU.

HOW WILL THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER INFLUENCED THE WAY AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HANDLES VACCINES? WILL THERE BE A BIGGER PUSH OR A FASTER WAY TO GET MORE PEOPLE VACCINATED? OH, I'LL TAKE A STAB AT THIS FIRST MERIT, AND THEN MAYBE YOU CAN PULL IT UP.

SO I THINK IT'S A, HONESTLY, WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN POSSIBLE TO GET VACCINES OUT TO THE LARGEST NUMBER OF PEOPLE POSSIBLE AND WORKING WELL WITH CHIEF KID AT THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT TO DO SO.

UH, WE GOT AN ADDITIONAL 3000 VACCINES LAST WEEKEND.

IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE GETTING ANOTHER 10,000 THIS WEEK.

AND TO GIVE OUT FOR AT CODA, I KNOW AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS ALSO GETTING, I BELIEVE MORE AND MORE VACCINES AS ARE THE SURROUNDING COUNTIES, WHICH IS ALL GREAT.

AND, AND THE REAL RACE, THERE IS A RACE AGAINST THE VIRUS, A RACE AGAINST MUTATIONS OF THE VIRUS, BUT DOING THAT ALONE, ISN'T GOING TO SAVE US.

WE HAVE TO KEEP WEARING MASKS WHILE WE ARE GETTING TO THAT GOAL, BECAUSE THE LAST THING THAT ANY OF US WANT IS A THIRD SURGE, AND THAT WOULD MAKE IT HARDER TO VACCINATE PEOPLE THAT WOULD MAKE IT HARDER FOR BUSINESSES TO SURVIVE.

AND THAT WOULD MAKE IT JUST A LONGER PROCESS FOR ALL OF US TO GET THROUGH THIS.

UM, PASS IT OVER TO THE MAYOR.

JUDGE, I THINK HE GAVE A GOOD ANSWER.

WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO GET AS MANY VACCINES OUT TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, UH, WHERE WE WERE TRYING TO GET ALL THE SUPPLY WE CAN AND ALL THE SUPPLY WE GET, WE ADMINISTER QUICKLY.

BUT AS THE JUDGE SAID, UH, VACCINES IS NOT THE ANSWER BY ITSELF.

WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE EVERYONE MASKING, UH, UH, FOR LEAST, UH, YOU KNOW, THE CREATIVE TIME IT'S GONNA TAKE TO GET EVERYONE VACCINATED.

I'M CONCERNED RIGHT NOW BECAUSE, UH, THE PEOPLE THAT ARE UNDER 65 AND ESSENTIAL WORKERS DON'T EVEN QUALIFY FOR A VACCINE AT THIS POINT.

UH, THOSE ARE OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS.

UH, AND IF THEY FIND THEMSELVES WORKING WITH PATRONS THAT ARE NOT WEARING MASKS AND THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE PUT AT, UH, AND AN UNDUE RISK, UH, THAT THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE TO FACE, UH, VACCINES WILL NOT BE THE ANSWER TO THAT.

UH, AT LEAST IN THE VERY SHORT TERM.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE ON MONDAY, DR.

S SCOTT SAID AUSTIN COULD BE IN THE STAGE TWO TERRITORY OF LOCAL RISK RESCUE RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE END OF MARCH OR EARLY APRIL.

IF SAFETY PRECAUTIONS CONTINUED, HOW DOES AUSTIN LEADERSHIP ANTICIPATE THE GOVERNOR'S NEW ORDER IMPACTING THE LOCAL RISK LEVEL GOING FORWARD? IF OUR COMMUNITY CONTINUES TO WEAR MASKING WITH THE SAME LEVEL THAT EXISTS RIGHT NOW, THEN OUR COMMUNITY WILL BE ABLE TO PROGRESS IF OUR, UH, HERE'S WHAT THE GOVERNOR DID TO INDICATE THAT IT'S NO LONGER IMPORTANT TO WHERE I'M ASKING PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO WEAR A MASK IT'S NOT EFFECTIVE.

UH, THEN, THEN WE COULD EASILY BE FACING YET A THIRD SEARCH, UH, AND THAT WOULD BE HORRIFIC FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

SO I THINK THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION RIGHT NOW IS UP TO THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE WE HAVE CHOICES TO MAKE.

UM, AS LAURA SAID, WITH THE CHAMBER, EVERYBODY HAS CHOICES.

PEOPLE CAN STILL CHOOSE TO WEAR MASKS.

BUSINESSES CAN STILL CHOOSE TO REQUIRE MASKING.

IF WE ALL HELP ONE ANOTHER AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER, AS WE HAVE JUST DONE THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WITH A WEATHER AND POWER AND WATER CRISIS, UH, THEN, THEN, THEN WE'LL DO OKAY, BUT IT'S UP TO US NOW.

WE HAVE A CHOICE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CVS, AUSTIN, WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO BE VACCINATED OR PERCENTAGE HERD IMMUNITY? ARE YOU LOOKING FOR TO CONSIDER THIS ORDER APPROPRIATELY SAFE? THIS HAS EVEN MORE PEOPLE WANTING TO GET VACCINATED, ANY ROOM FOR AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY TO EXPAND VACCINATIONS.

[00:25:03]

UM, WELL, YOU KNOW, JUST LOOKING AT OTHER SOURCES, OTHER LEADERS IN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY, FIRST RANGE UP TO, YOU KNOW, 80%.

UM, AND AGAIN, ONLY ONE IN 10 TEXANS ARE VACCINATED RIGHT NOW.

SO I THINK WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO.

UM, I THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE A LOT MORE EDUCATION.

THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO, UH, FEAR VACCINES.

UM, SO WE NEED TO REASSURE AND EDUCATE, UH, THE POPULATION.

UM, BUT I THINK WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO, BUT, YOU KNOW, 80%.

YEP.

I AGREE.

I THINK THAT'S OUR GOAL IS TO GETTING TO 80%.

AND WE, LAST TIME I CHECKED YESTERDAY ON THE DISHES WEBSITE, IT SAID THAT WE'VE VACCINATED 5.6% OF THE POPULATION IN TRAVIS COUNTY WAS HERE WITH THE FULL VACCINE VACCINE.

SO THAT'S NOWHERE NEAR 80% THAT IN FACT IS A VERY LONG WAY FROM 80%.

SO I KNOW THAT THE MAYOR AND I, UH, VTB CVS, EVERY, EVERY VACCINE HUB IN THE AREA IS DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO GET VACCINES OUT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

I AM ENCOURAGED THAT THE SUPPLY SEEMS TO BE INCREASING, BUT IT'S NOT, HAS NOT INCREASED ENOUGH.

AND WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SHOTS IN ARMS YET IN TRAVIS COUNTY AND CENTRAL TEXAS, UH, TO RELAX THE MASK MANDATE.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N WHAT EFFORTS WILL BE MADE TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL BUSINESSES TO IMPLEMENT THEIR OWN MASK MANDATES.

FOR EXAMPLE, TAX INCENTIVES WILL APD APD RESPOND IF BUSINESS OWNERS CALL SAYING CUSTOMERS ARE VIOLATING THEIR REQUIREMENTS.

I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER.

UH, MY, I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT, THAT PUBLIC SAFETY, UH, WILL BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO INDIVIDUAL BUSINESSES REQUIREMENTS.

UM, BUT I HOPE THAT BUSINESSES, UM, UH, SET THOSE RULES AND MAINTAIN THOSE RULES, UH, AS A COMMUNITY, WE GET TO CHOOSE, UH, WHICH BUSINESSES WE GO TO.

UH, AND, AND IT IS CERTAINLY REASONABLE FOR EVERYONE IN OUR COMMUNITY TO CHOOSE TO GO TO THOSE BUSINESSES THAT KEEP THEM AND THEIR EMPLOYEES THE SAFEST.

UH, AND I THINK WE SHOULD BE, UH, HONORING AND, AND PATRONIZING AND HOLDING UP THOSE BUSINESSES, UH, THAT ARE GOING THE EXTRA MILE TO HELP KEEP THEIR CUSTOMERS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES SAFE.

YEAH.

MAYBE I'LL JUMP IN AND JUST ADD A COMMENT HERE.

I MEAN, IF, IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENED OVER THE PAST YEAR, WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF, YOU KNOW, OUR FAVORITE BUSINESSES CLOSED IN AUSTIN.

THERE HAS BEEN A DEEP IMPACT TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK IF YOU PUT ALL THESE FACTS TOGETHER AND YOU THINK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, 5% OF THE POPULATION THAT WE LIVE WITH HAS BOTH VACCINES.

UM, WE'VE GOT A LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE EVERYONE HAS RECEIVED BOTH VACCINES.

AND, AND WE ARE AT A TURNING POINT.

WE'RE FORTUNATE THAT WE'RE GETTING MORE VACCINES ON A WEEKLY BASIS.

WE'RE FORTUNATE THAT THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM IS GOING WELL.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, THIS IS REALLY ABOUT US LEANING IN AS A COMMUNITY AND BE RESPECTFUL OF BUSINESSES WHO ARE TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO STAY OPEN.

AND SO THAT YOU HAVE YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR BAR TO GO TO, UH, WHEN ALL OF THIS IS OVER.

SO, NO, I DON'T THINK BUSINESSES NEED AN INCENTIVE IN ORDER TO ASK PEOPLE TO WEAR A MASK.

I THINK BUSINESSES HAVE A NATURAL INCENTIVE, WHICH IS THAT THEY WANT TO KEEP THEIR EMPLOYEES AND THEIR PATRONS SAFE.

THEY WANT TO STAY OPEN.

AND WHEN WE COME ALL THE WAY OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC AND WE'RE FULLY REOPENED, UH, I THINK PEOPLE WANT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE EFFORTS THAT WE MADE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

I WOULD JUST, UH, THIS IS JOY.

I WOULD JUST JUMP IN HERE AND ALSO SAY, YES, YOU EVEN STARTING LAST NIGHT, YOU'RE STARTING TO SEE THE LIST OF RESTAURANTS BEING USED IN OTHER FOOD, UH, IN, UH, YOU, UH, PLACES SORT OF, UH, ACTIVELY SAY WHAT THEIR PLANS ARE AND HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PROTECT THEIR STAFF, THEIR EMPLOYEES, AND PAGES AND CUSTOMERS, AND WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO ABOUT THOSE WHO WILL COME IN AND DO SO WITHOUT MASK, ISN'T THERE ASKING THOSE TO RESPECT THAT THEY HAVE MASKS POLICIES IN THEIR, IN THEIR ESTABLISHMENTS.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K U WHAT, IF ANY POWER OR OPTIONS DO LOCALITIES HAVE TO ENACT THEIR OWN MASK MANDATE OR OCCUPANCY RULES? SO I THINK IT'S BEEN SEVERELY CURTAILED BY THIS, BUT I THINK THE THING WE NEED TO REMEMBER IS THAT FIRST OF ALL, THIS, THIS ORDER THAT THE GOVERNOR, UH,

[00:30:01]

ORDERED YESTERDAY DOES NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL MARCH 10TH.

SO CURRENTLY EVERYTHING THAT, THAT THE MAYOR AND I HAVE ORDERED IS STILL IN PLACE.

I'M WORKING WITH OUR COUNTY ATTORNEY, UH, TO SEE WHAT OUR OPTIONS ARE.

BUT, UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO STILL REQUIRE MASKS IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE UNDER THAT ORDER AND UNDER THE LAW.

AND I, BUT I THINK MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE NEED TO WORK WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES WHO ARE TELLING US ARE TELLING ME THAT THEY, THEY STILL WANT TO BE ABLE TO REQUIRE PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS.

THEY WANT PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS.

THIS IS FRANKLY BAD FOR OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES HERE IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY, UH, BECAUSE IT PUTS THEM IN AN AWKWARD POSITION, JUST LIKE THE MAYOR WAS SAYING, IF, IF, IF THE PENALTIES ARE REMOVED BY THIS ORDER, UH, THEN IF THEY ARE TRYING TO ENFORCE MASS SQUARING AND ENTER SOME SORT OF, UH, YOU KNOW, ISSUE WITH, WITH SOMEBODY ABOUT THAT, THEY'RE LIMITED ON THEIR ABILITY TO CALL THE POLICE.

THIS ORDER REALLY PUTS THEM IN A VERY BAD PLACE.

AND SO I THINK THE THING THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON IS EVERYBODY WEARING A MASK.

UH, DESPITE WHAT THIS ORDER SAYS, I KNOW AT THE COUNTY LEVEL, WE'RE LOOKING INTO WHAT LEGAL OPTIONS WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO ENFORCE MASKS BECAUSE UNTIL WE GET THAT 5% OF VACCINATION FOR TRAVIS COUNTY UP TO 80%, UH, WE CAN'T RELAX AND WE DON'T WANT TO RISK GOING INTO A THIRD SURGE.

REMEMBER BEFORE EARLIER, UH, IN THE, IN THE PANDEMIC, UH, IT REALLY WAS THE, THE CITIES AND THE COUNTIES ACROSS THE STATE, UH, THAT, THAT ENCOURAGED, UH, AND GOT THEIR RESIDENTS TO, TO, TO WHERE I'M ASKING.

UH, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE CITIES AND THE COUNTIES THAT HAVE LED ON THIS ISSUE.

UH, THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT THE GOVERNOR TOOK AWAY THE ABILITY OF CITY COUNTIES TO IMPOSE A PENALTY, UH, ASSOCIATED WITH MASS WEARING, UH, THE OTHER TIMES THE GOVERNOR'S DIED THAT HE'S ULTIMATELY HAD TO, UH, TO, TO CHANGE THAT, UH, DECISION, UH, BECAUSE OF, OF, OF IN SUING SPIKES.

BUT EVEN DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME, UH, MY WATER STILL REQUIRED MASKING, UH, IN, UH, IN THE CITY.

AND I WOULD ANTICIPATE CONTINUING TO DO THAT.

UM, THE PENALTY, UH, AT THIS POINT FOR THAT COULD EASILY BE JUST THAT IF YOU DON'T WEAR MASKS, MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET SICK AND MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE, AND THAT SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT PENALTY AND OF ITSELF.

THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CO-OP RADIO, HAS THE CITY COUNTY REACHED OUT TO THE FEDERAL PHARMACY PROGRAM TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PROVIDERS IN TRAVIS COUNTY, LIKE ARC IN THE CONVERSATIONS THAT, UH, I'VE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE WITH, UH, WITH THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS, UH, UH, TOGETHER WITH, UH, WITH OTHER MAYORS, WE ARE, UH, CONSTANTLY AND CONTINUALLY, UH, URGING THE ADMINISTRATION TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY OF VACCINES, UH, THAT WOULD BE GETTING OUT TO THE, TO THE COMMUNITIES, UH, AND, UH, ALL SUPPLIERS, UH, IN THE COMMUNITY, UH, ESPECIALLY CITIES AND COUNTIES AS THEY GEAR UP FOR MASS DISTRIBUTIONS.

YEAH.

AND WE SENT A LETTER LAST WEEK, I THINK WITH THE VERY SURROUNDING COUNTY JUDGES.

IT WAS A BIPARTISAN LETTER THAT WE SENT BOTH TO TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, ASKING FOR 50,000 VACCINES TO GIVE OUT AT THE CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS.

WE ALSO SEND A SIMILAR LETTER TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ASKING FOR VACCINES TO GIVE OUT IN A SIMILAR WAY.

WE'VE GOT 3000 ADDITIONAL VACCINES LAST WEEKEND FOR THIS COMBINED EFFORT AND TO 10,000 FOR THIS WEEKEND.

AND WE HOPE THAT THAT NUMBER WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE.

YES, THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVO, SINCE THIS IS AN EXECUTIVE ORDER, WHAT ENFORCEMENT OPTIONS, IF ANY, ARE THERE FROM A LOCAL STANDPOINT, IF PEOPLE CHOOSE NOT TO WEAR A MASK, AS JUDGE BROWN SAID, YOU KNOW, IT'S A NEW ORDER.

WE'RE WORKING WITH OUR ATTORNEYS RIGHT NOW.

YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY WE'LL DO EVERYTHING THAT WE CAN, UH, TO TRY TO, TO OBTAIN THE WIDEST SPREAD USE OF MASKING, UH, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT IT'S AFFECTIVE AND WE KNOW THAT IT WORKS, AND WE KNOW THAT IT'S STILL NECESSARY.

UM, UH, AT THIS POINT, UH, WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR THAT REVIEW, BUT AGAIN, PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT THAT ULTIMATELY ALL OF THESE THINGS, UH, IT HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT, UM, MAKING THESE THINGS WORK THROUGH ENFORCEMENT.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ENOUGH POLICE OFFICERS AND DEPUTY SHERIFFS AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AGENTS TO ENFORCE

[00:35:01]

OUR WAY TO, TO DO SUCCESS.

THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT US AND THE CHOICES THAT WE MAKE AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS INDIVIDUAL BUSINESSES, UH, WE HAVE THE POWER OURSELVES TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY SAFE AND IT'S THAT POWER THAT WE SHOULD BE EXERCISING.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS AUSTIN, ALREADY LOOKING AT HOW THIS, RIGHT, LET ME START OVER.

THIS IS FROM CBS AUSTIN, ALREADY LOOKING AT HOW THIS WILL IMPACT SCHOOLS, SUMMER SCHOOL, WILL SCHOOLS BE ABLE TO ENFORCE THEIR OWN MASK MANDATES AND WILL TEACHERS MAKE IT HIGHER ON THE LIST FOR VACCINES NOW THAT THERE'S A GREATER RISK FOR EXPOSURE? WELL, IF I I'M, I'M KENZIE THERAPIST, UH, PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION, AUSTIN, UM, AND EMPLOYEES UNION FOR THE DISTRICT.

AND I THINK THERE'S STILL A LOT TO BE SEEN THROUGH TEA, UM, UH, RULES, UH, AFTER THE MANDATE THAT TH TH THAT THE SUPERINTENDENT IS INFORMED ME THAT THEY'RE PURSUING, BUT I THINK IT REALLY BRINGS UP A VERY IMPORTANT POINT THAT WE'VE CREATED A CULTURE OF MASKING WITHIN THE DISTRICT.

AND I THINK THAT THAT, THAT, THAT CULTURE WILL PERMEATE BEYOND, UH, AN ILL-ADVISED, UM, UH, DIRECTIVE BY THE, BY THE GOVERNOR.

AND I THINK TO, TO MAYOR ADLER'S POINT, I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT, UM, AS A TEACHER AND SOMEONE WHO REPRESENTS, UH, UH, TEACHERS THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT, THIS IS ABOUT EDUCATION.

THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT PUNISHMENT.

PUNISHMENT IS NOT THE WAY WE LEARN THINGS.

SO IF WE ARE JUST IMPLEMENTING A PUNITIVE SYSTEM THAT YOU WILL DO THIS, UH, OR YOU WILL GET PUNISHED, UH, THAT'S GOING TO CREATE A RESISTANCE AS WELL.

I WAS IN THE CLASSROOM AT EIGHTH GRADERS THAT DOES NOT SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS. EDUCATING PEOPLE SOLVES THE PROBLEMS AND THIS PRESS CONFERENCE AND MORE EFFORTS.

SO BUSINESSES, THE SCHOOLS HAVE TO EDUCATE FAMILIES, KIDS, AND OTHERS TO INDICATE WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.

UH, SO IT'S IMPORTANT.

IT'S INCUMBENT UPON US TO CONTINUE TO EDUCATE THROUGH THIS SO THAT WE LEARN WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP US ALL SAFE.

UH, HOPEFULLY ALL EMPLOYEES, BECAUSE WE HAVE EMPLOYEES THE MOST VULNERABLE EMPLOYEES, EMPLOYEES ON THE, BY, UH, BY POC COMMUNITY THAT ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE, THAT ARE NOT NECESSARILY IN ONE BEAT THAT ARE OUT IN THE FRONT LINES, TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS AND KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE.

WE NEED TO MOVE THE ENTIRE SCHOOL COMMUNITY UP AND HOPEFULLY GET MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL EMPLOYEES TO GET VACCINATED.

STEVE ADLER.

I THINK THAT THE, THE, THE, THE INDICATIONS I'VE SEEN ARE THAT THE, UH, AISD SUPERINTENDENT, UH, THE DAY, UH, HAS INDICATED THAT SHE'S GOING TO STILL REQUIRE THE SAME MASKING, UH, THAT, UH, HAD BEEN IN PLACE BEFORE.

UH, AND I THINK WE ALL APPLAUD THAT, UH, AND HOPE THAT, UH, OTHER, UH, INSTITUTIONS AND BUSINESSES, UH, FOLLOW SUIT.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N KEN TRAVIS COUNTY, AND ALCOHOL SALES EARLIER THAN 2:00 AM.

IS THIS SOMETHING THE COUNTY WILL CONSIDER DOING? IF IT SEES UNSAFE PRACTICES, LIKE PACKED BARS WITH THOSE SOCIAL DISTANCING OR MASKS? THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

AND YEAH, WE'RE LOOKING AT ALL OPTIONS ON TRYING TO MAKE THE, YOU KNOW, FOR PEOPLE THAT DO GO TO RESTAURANTS, MAKE THAT EXPERIENCE SAFER.

UM, AND IF, IF THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO UNDER THE LAW, THAT IS ABSOLUTELY SOMETHING THAT WE WOULD CONSIDER BECAUSE WE, THE THING THAT DR. MARQUEZ SCOTT HAS ALWAYS, UH, SAID TO ME, AND THAT I HAVE SEEN BASED ON HIS NUMBERS IS THAT WHEN YOU TAKE YOUR MASK OFF, ESPECIALLY AT A BAR OR A RESTAURANT, AND YOU'RE CLOSE TO PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU DON'T LIVE, THAT'S WHERE YOU, WHERE COVID SPREADS THE MOST.

AND SO ANYTHING THAT WE COULD DO TO WORK WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS TO, UH, CURTAIL THAT BEHAVIOR.

AND IF THAT, IF THAT MEANS CHANGING THE HOURS OF, OF OPENINGS OF RESTAURANTS, AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'RE ABLE TO DO, UH, UNDER THIS NEW ORDER, THAT'S ABSOLUTELY SOMETHING THAT I WOULD LOOK AT DOING.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K U T, HOW DOES THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER IMPACT THE POTENTIAL SPREAD OF OTHER COVID VARIANTS IN THE COMMUNITY? UM, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.

AND, UM, I DON'T THINK THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD ANSWERS, UH, BUT IF YOU HAVE A DISEASE, YOU KNOW, A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE

[00:40:01]

BEING SPREAD, THE VIRUS IS LIKE YOU AND ME, THEY WANT TO SURVIVE.

SO IF YOU TRY TO PUT THINGS IN PLACE TO, YOU KNOW, KILL THE VIRUS, THE VIRUS IS GOING TO LEARN HOW TO SURVIVE.

THAT'S WHAT WE ALL LIVING THINGS TO DO.

SO, UM, THE MORE WE MASK UP, THE MORE WE PROTECT OURSELVES AND OTHERS, YOU DECREASE THE NUMBERS OF VIRUS AND THINGS WILL GO IN A BETTER DIRECTION, BUT IF PEOPLE STOP WORRYING MASS, UM, ALL AGE RANGES, WE KNOW THAT KIDS ARE NOT AS SYMPTOMATIC AS OUR OLDER ADULTS.

UM, THEY HAVE THE POTENTIAL ALSO TO SPREAD IT TO THEIR CAREGIVERS, THEIR OLDER FAMILY MEMBERS.

SO, YOU KNOW, BIGGEST SOLUTION IS MASKING AND VACCINATION.

UM, THAT IS, UM, CORNERSTONE REGULARS.

THEY KNOW , UH, CAME UP UM, LIBIDO SAYS YOUR , UH AND TOM SAYS, UH, , UM, SAME PLACE THANK YOU, DR.

.

AT THIS TIME, WE WILL GO INTO OUR CLOSING REMARKS AND WE WILL START WITH THE MAYOR, MAYOR ADLER, REAL SIMPLY WE HAVE A CHOICE TO MAKE IN THIS COMMUNITY.

UH, AND IT'S ONE I'M SURE WE'RE GOING TO MAKE, AS WE HAVE OVER THE LAST YEAR TO HELP KEEP OURSELVES AND OTHERS SAFE, WE GET TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT MASKING IS SOMETHING THAT, THAT HAPPENS IN A WIDESPREAD MANNER, UH, IN OUR, IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, WE GET TO DECIDE, WE GET TO DECIDE.

AND, AND I JUST HOPE THAT, AND TRUST THAT REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE GOVERNOR, WHO ORDERS OR DOESN'T ORDER, OR ANYONE ORDERS, OR DOES AN ORDER, UH, THAT IN, UH, AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY, WE WILL MASK UP.

THANK YOU, SIR.

AND AT THIS TIME WE WILL HAVE OUR FINAL CLOSING REMARKS FROM TRAVIS COUNTY, JUDGE, ANDY BROWN.

THANKS EVERYBODY.

AND THANKS TO OUR COMMUNITY.

THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR GOING THROUGH EVERYTHING THAT YOU HAVE DONE THIS PAST YEAR, THESE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, AND, AND KEEPING ONGOING.

THERE HAS BEEN A RIDICULOUS YEAR.

IT HAS BEEN A HARD YEAR.

IT HAS BEEN A HARD FEW WEEKS, AND IT IS STILL HARD FOR SO MANY PEOPLE THAT DON'T HAVE WATER, DON'T HAVE FOOD AND ARE HAVING TO SINK THEIR, THEIR SAVINGS INTO FIXING THEIR HOMES AND FIXING THEIR PIPES RIGHT NOW.

THE LAST THING WE NEED IS ANOTHER COVID, UH, SURGE.

AND SO I WOULD URGE EVERYONE TO KEEP WEARING THEIR MASKS NO MATTER WHAT THE GOVERNOR SAYS, NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY ELSE SAYS, AND TO WORK TOGETHER, COME VOLUNTEER AT A VACCINE CLINIC, HELP US GET AS MANY VACCINES INTO ARMS AS POSSIBLE IN TRAVIS COUNTY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, JUDGE.

THANKS TO ALL THE PANEL MEMBERS TODAY AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER, MOLLY OAK FROM VIEW.

THIS CONCLUDES OUR NEWS CONFERENCE FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU.

AND BE SAFE.

.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.