As Austin’s new ordinance restricting the rights of citizens across the city goes into full effect today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Executive Director Kevin Roberts released the following statement:
“Austin city officials have consistently redefined public health goals to justify unnecessary and ineffective restrictions on the actions of citizens. Austin is not and has never been close to seeing our health care system overburdened, and the people here are not in any danger of lacking access to hospitals, treatment, or personal protective equipment. The new restrictions on businesses only serve to scare the public into thinking they are highly susceptible to grave harm and even death if they don’t comply. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“The reality is that Texas’ fatality rate per active case has declined to about a third of where it was six weeks ago, and the state remains one of the better success stories in avoiding the worst effects of the outbreak.
“A growing body of research suggests that, for working age Americans and children, the virus presents the same mortality as the annual flu. Our senior citizens are most at risk and steps to minimize the health threats to them ought to be the priority of every Texan. Even in the face of rising cases, hospitalization rates are starting to go down — and the overall death rate is minuscule.
“COVID-19 is serious, make no mistake. But this order isn’t about COVID. It’s about Austin officials who refuse to let a crisis go to waste.
“The more effective way to protect public health and do the least amount of damage to our community is to provide as much information to the public as possible and allow businesses and customers to decide how to act on their own. A one-size-fits-all policy has proven to be devastatingly destructive to families – as Texas now grapples with double–digit unemployment – while demonstrating a questionable connection to public health and safety.
“This week the city unveiled a new campaign, ‘Austin, Let’s Be a City of Us.’ But these decisions aren’t about us; these restrictions are about them deciding what’s best for us. If it were about ‘us,‘ city officials would let businesses and consumers, moms and dads, doctors and patients, friends and neighbors all decide what works for them individually. They should ‘Trust Us, the People of Texas.’
“From the beginning of the outbreak, Texans have shown the ability to do what’s right for each other and their communities. They deserve the respect from city officials to continue to make decisions for themselves.”