Curfews could be coming to Houston if COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, Mayor Turner says

Courtney Fischer Image
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Curfews could be ordered in Houston if cases rise, Mayor says
COVID-19 cases are increasing in Houston. Could a nightly curfew be on the horizon? Mayor Sylvester Turner said he isn't ruling anything out.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he isn't ruling anything out in response to the city of San Antonio issuing a Thanksgiving weekend curfew.

In efforts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the San Antonio curfew went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Nov. 30. During that time, residents cannot gather outside of their households between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with the exception of seeking services from a business.

When asked about San Antonio's curfew Thursday morning, Turner said he won't rule anything out.

RELATED: Thanksgiving weekend curfew issued in San Antonio to help reduce COVID-19 spread

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"I'm watching the numbers very carefully. Yesterday, in terms of hospitalizations, we hit 900, and that was increasing," Turner said. "So, a lot of what we decide to do would depend on people's behavior, the communities, the extent of the community spread, and the status of our hospital health care delivery system. I don't rule out anything."

Turner emphasized that he's calling on local bars and restaurants to help limit the number of customers they serve and control crowds.

"I am asking bars who are now operating as restaurants, restaurants, other business establishments, to monitor the crowds in their establishments, to ensure that people are wearing their masks, to do everything they need to do to keep us from having to say, 'We're going to impose some sort of curfew,'" Turner said. "And a lot will depend on the degree of community spread and the impact on the health care system."

The bottom line? Turner says he'll do whatever it takes to keep cases down.

"I'll do whatever needs to be done to maintain the health and safety of the people in our city," Turner said.

The message comes as Harris County's COVID-19 positivity rate reaches 9.5%. The rate has been steadily increasing since October, when it reached a low of 5.5%

In an interview with CNN's "The Situation Room" Wednesday, Turner had an important message for Houstonians: "Don't invite COVID-19 to Thanksgiving."

When asked about the high coronavirus rates in other parts of the state, such as El Paso County, Turner said he had been in contact with the El Paso County Judge and had offered Houston's support.

"In Texas, we come together," Turner said.

SEE ALSO: El Paso County officials seek help at morgue as coronavirus fatalities climb

The request comes as the county has used low-level offenders from the county jail to help transport bodies and as officials await a response from the Texas National Guard.

"We can be in a similar situation if we do not take note and modify our behavior," he warned.

Turner again touched on the matter in a tweet Saturday afternoon.

"The next 3 weeks will be critical for our City. We need each other, individuals and businesses, to act responsibly: stay away from crowded spaces, parties, clubs; get tested; keep your masks on; wash your hands; don't be selfish," he wrote.

The San Antonio curfew also applies to restaurants, which according to the city's website, will be required to close their dining areas. But, drive-thru, curbside or takeout services can still be offered.

Anyone who violates the curfew will be issued a $1,000 fine.

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