Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin (Texas), spent a week’s vacation in Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) in early November, although he advised the residents of his city to stay home and “not relax” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Eagle had gone to Cabo San Lucas with seven other people after his daughter was married outdoors and received a 20-person reception in a hotel in Austin, the Austin American-Statesman first reported.
One evening during the trip, Adler posted a video on Facebook about the spread of the virus and asked Austin residents to continue taking the necessary precautions.
“We need to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax. We’re going to look very closely,” he said, adding, “If we’re not careful, we may have to close everything down.
However, the mayor did not mention that he was traveling abroad at that time. At that time, Austin was working to Level 3 recommendations, with less than 4 percent of the population testing positive for the virus. People were asked not to gather in groups of 10 or more.
In an interview with the American Statesman, Adler said that he and his family spent hours thinking about how to safely hold an intimate wedding and vacation. Among his preparations were consulting Austin-Travis County’s interim health director, Dr. Mark Escott, before the wedding, calling for rapid coronavirus testing for everyone present and maintaining social distance.
“At this time I am with my family group and the people who have just tested,” he said. “It’s not perfect. Of course there are infections that can happen, but I think we should all minimize the risks as much as possible.
Adler added that there is no recommendation for people not to travel at this time. While the pandemic has caused many countries, including most European countries, to restrict travel from America, air travel to Mexico has not been restricted.
“Someone could look at me and say: ‘He has traveled’. But what they couldn’t say is that I was traveling at a time when I was telling other people not to travel,” Adler said in an interview with the newspaper.
“Only in our most difficult moments, such as around Thanksgiving, did I ask people not to travel as part of additional precautions,” Adler said in the interview. The safest thing to do is to stay at home. But we don’t ask people to never venture out. We ask everyone to be as safe as possible when they do,” he added.
On November 19, one week after Adler’s return, health authorities raised Austin’s alert level to Level 4 and recommended that all people avoid travel that is not necessary.
Texas has seen a record number of coronavirus cases over the past month. On November 11, the state became the first in the country to exceed the 1 million registered cases mark.
By Wednesday, a total of 38,757 coronavirus cases and 484 deaths had been registered in Travis County, where Austin is located, according to a database in the New York Times.
Adler is one of many elected officials who have been scrutinized in the United States for avoiding their own COVID-19 precautions. Last week, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock boarded a flight to Houston for Thanksgiving after urging residents of the city to avoid travel.
And California Governor Gavin Newsom said he made a “bad mistake” by attending a dinner party with over a dozen people at a time when the state had banned gatherings of individuals from three or more households.
Washington Newsday turned to Adler for additional comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.