The mayor on Wednesday admitted to traveling out of the country after celebrating his daughter’s wedding earlier this month, when health officials began warning the public of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In a video shared on his Facebook page on November 9, Adler warned residents of the spike and urged them to stay home to limit the spread of infection.
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Mayor Steve Adler posted a Facebook video on November 9 warning the public of the spike in COVID-19 cases but failed to mention he had been speaking from his Cabo timeshare
The mayor on Wednesday admitted to traveling to Cabo San Lucas after celebrating his daughter’s (pictured) wedding earlier this month
‘The most important message trying to get out to the community right now is that our numbers are increasing,’ he said.
‘We need to stay home if you can…We need to try to keep the numbers down. Now is not the time to relax.’
What he failed to mention however, was that he had been speaking from his timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, two days after watching his daughter tie the knot in a ceremony in Austin with 20 people.
At the time of the his video, Austin was under Stage 3 COVID guidelines, meaning residents were urged to avoid gatherings greater than 10 and non-essential travel if they were high-risk.
Adler confirmed to KVUE on Wednesday he had been in Mexico at the time of his video after flying in with eight members of his immediate and extended family on a private jet after the wedding.
But he maintained he did not violate his own COVID rules nor the state’s, and said he consulted with the city’s top health official Dr Mark Escott to ensure the wedding and subsequent trip was done so safely.
‘At that point, I am with my family group and people who just tested,’ he said.
‘It is not perfect. Obviously, there are infections that could happen, but I think all of us should be minimizing risks as best we can.’
Adler said the wedding was held at the Hotel Saint Cecilia with 20 guests, all of whom were tested prior and wore masks and practiced social distancing
At the time of the his video, Austin was under Stage 3 COVID guidelines, meaning residents were urged to avoid gatherings greater than 10 and non-essential travel if they were high-risk
News of Adler’s vacation drew criticism on social media
Critics suggested he should be penalized for ‘not following his own rules’
Adler said the wedding was held at the Hotel Saint Cecilia with 20 guests, all of whom were tested prior and wore masks and practiced social distancing.
‘There was no recommendation for people not to travel during that period of time,’ he told the Statesman.
‘Someone could look at me and say, ‘He traveled.’ But what they could not say is that I traveled at a time when I was telling other people not to travel.’
News of the Adler’s vacation amid the pandemic drew criticism on social media, with some leaving comments on his video disclosing his location.
‘How’s Cabo?! Must be nice to not ‘stay home’ but when you are part of the political elite well…we all know how that goes,’ one user commented.
On Twitter, one resident suggested Adler should be penalized for failing to follow his own rules after having imposing a strict lockdown in the city.
‘He’s personally kept bars and restaurants closed all year, while charging them property taxes. He’s put hundreds of thousands of Austinites on unemployment. He should be put in jail for not following his own rules,’ she tweeted.
‘Typical Dem Elite POS ‘Do as I say, not as I do’,’ another added.
Journalist Dan Solomon said Adler should be setting an example for others.
‘The real issue with Adler’s ‘just like everybody else, I’m trying to navigate this for my family’ is that most Austin families are doing a better job of navigating it than he is, and our leaders should be the safest and most responsible among us so they have an example to follow!’
Adler addressed the controversy in a statement released on Wednesday explaining his actions before issuing a public apology.
‘Every day since March, I repeat that being home is the safest place for people to be. Only at our most trying moments, like around Thanksgiving, have I asked people not to travel as part of extra precautions,’ he said.
‘Several weeks ago, when my daughter cancelled her planned wedding to replace it with a COVID appropriate more private ceremony and when my family traveled, we consulted with health authorities and worked hard to model the kind of behavior I’ve asked of the community.
‘We were in a lower risk ‘Yellow’ level than now. It is always safest to stay home. However, we aren’t asking people never to venture out. We ask everyone to be as safe as possible in what they do.
‘My family and I are no exception and we’ll continue to do as I ask of our community. During Thanksgiving and as anticipated for Christmas and the New Year, we should all be especially mindful.’
He later added: ‘I regret this travel. 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, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize.’