HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed how the city will go about handling businesses who violate the governor’s orders ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
Turner said the city has been hit with two lawsuits from handing out citations to businesses who were not following Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders to reopen under a certain capacity limit.
He said if the governor’s office would help enforce the orders by having Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission take away permits to serve from violating businesses, that will help protect the city. He said without the governor’s support, it puts the city in the vulnerable position of being sued.
Houston Fire Department Cheif Samuel Peña said the department will still respond to complaints. Peña said the department will monitor and provide information to businesses violating the orders. Turner asked the public to walk away from environments that are violating the orders.
COVID-19 case count as of Friday
Turner said the Houston Health Department is reporting 154 positive cases and an additional death. He said the patient was a Hispanic male in his 80s with underlying health conditions.
As announced earlier today, @HoustonHealth reports 154 new cases of #COVID19, bringing the total case count in Houston to 6,342.— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) May 22, 2020
Unfortunately our total number of deaths has increased by one to 124. pic.twitter.com/uCYxDAr8FP
Turner also wanted to recognize the efforts of the employees at Houston Public Works.
“We don’t want to forget our municipal employees” he said.
Turner said an employee at Houston Public Works died from COVID-19 and how they are also on the front lines providing the city of what it needs.
Remembering longtime friend, Keith Wade
Turner’s longtime friend and special adviser died Thursday night from coronavirus. In the press briefing Friday, he said he and Wade met in 1974 at the University of Houston. He said they started together in politics and how he wouldn’t be where he is today in politics without Wade.
“We’ve known each other for 46 years. Keith was one of my best men at my wedding ... we go back a long way,” he said.
Turner said Wade has not been in City Hall for two months since battling the virus. He reminded everyone at the press conference that “this virus is for real.”
“We will miss him,” Turner said.