Local Leaders Denounce ‘Mask off’ Party

Local Leaders Denounce ‘Mask off’ Party

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
March 9, 2021

Following Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order to end the statewide mask mandate and limits on business capacity, local leaders denounced “mask off” parties planned for this week.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and Rep. Ann Johnson (D) raised alarms about a potential spike in coronavirus cases after nightclubs invited patrons for a “mask off” bash. They shared images of an ad circulated through Instagram which has since been deleted.

“This is a dangerous, irresponsible event that is literally a slap in the face of our health care workers that are risking their lives, those family members who have lost loved ones, and all of Houstonians, who honor the sanctity of life over getting an overpriced cocktail,” Johnson stated at a press conference held Sunday. “This is unquestionably a superspreader event that will literally kick off the fourth surge of COVID in our Houston area.”

“Today, I stand with healthcare workers, Council Member Robinson, State Rep. Ann Johnson and others to denounce businesses planning “mask off” parties to celebrate the governor’s decision to end the mask mandate COVID19,” tweeted Turner. “Let’s work to keep our friends, family and neighbors alive.”

After the venue cancelled the event, Turner publicly thanked the owners of the Houston bar for “putting the safety of their employees and guests as a top priority.” A spokesperson for Mayor Turner implied that Abbott’s order is under review with plans to investigate potential institutions of mask mandates on local scales.

Abbott’s decision has been met with vehement criticism from Texas Democrats, including Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa who called Abbott’s announcement as “extraordinarily dangerous.” Beto O’Rourke, former presidential candidate and potential Abbott challenger in 2022, echoed Hinojosa’s dismay, describing the repeal as “a death warrant for Texans.” President Joe Biden also recently described the easing of mandates as “Neanderthal thinking.”

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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