Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner responds to Thanksgiving weekend curfew orders in Texas

Mayor Sylvester Turner will provide more information on the rental assistance program for Houstonians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has issued a statement following the curfews issued in Bexar County and in San Antonio.

“I don’t rule out anything,” his statement to media reads. “Our behavior, the spread of this virus, and the impact on the health care delivery system will ultimately dictate our response.”

His comments come after Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg imposed a curfew, beginning from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Thursday, Nov. 26, and extending through Monday, Nov. 30. The efforts are due to fears that the Thanksgiving weekend will end in a huge spike of COVID-19 cases, KSAT reported.

Mayor Turner says the number of hospitalizations have increased by 111 percent.

“If it gets to the point and talking with Dr. Persse and other healthcare professionals, if they say to me Mayor we just have to go to utilize some steps, then I’m going to listen,” he said.

KPRC asked Dr. Joseph Varon at United Memorial Medical Center about the possibility of a curfew.

“Unfortunately, I truly think the cow is out of the barn that means it’s a little too late. At this present time, my primary concern is all the contacts that occurred yesterday during Thanksgiving and everything that happened today during Black Friday where everyone is out there shopping,” Dr. Varon said.

Dr. Varon says our focus needs to be on educating others about the deadly virus.

“That means keep your safe distance, use your mask, wash your hands and don’t go to crowded places,” he said.

KPRC also spoke to several businesses in Houston. Some of them say a curfew won’t effect their businesses as much because they’ve already cut back on hours. Christian Tailgate located on Kirby Drive said a curfew would hurt their business.

“We definitely make most of our money at night for sure. I’ve told my servers from the beginning you want to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Dustin Landry, General Manager at Christian’s Tailgate, said.

He says COVID-19 has changed the way they do business.

“We tried to do everything we could as far as curbside and to go to keep everything a float,” he said.

Landry says they will continue to their part and make sure everyone is safe, but he feels a curfew would not change much.

“I think the damage is kind of done at this point so doing what we are doing right now people are itching to get out and so as long as everyone is doing their part I feel like we’ve done as much as we can,” he said.

In San Antonio and Bexar County, people are not allowed to gather outside of their household during the imposed curfew, except for when seeking services from a business. Restaurants, including those with outdoor service areas, are required to close for dine-in services at 10 p.m. until the curfew period ends. The establishments may continue to offer drive-thru, curbside or takeout service after 10 p.m. and resume dine-in service at 6 a.m. during the curfew period. The amended public health order strongly encourages dine-in food service providers to only offer curbside or takeout until the curfew expires on Monday. Individuals or establishments who violate the curfew rules may face a fine up to $1,000.

About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.