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Sunday, June 13, 2021

When Texas Ended Its Mask Mandate, The Event Cancellations Started — And The Losses Are Adding Up

“This is the worst possible time for any part of the hotel industry to be [losing] business,” Flannigan stated. “We’re at the very first few upticks of the recovery of the hotel industry and tourism, which is both important to the hotels themselves, and to the many, many, many jobs that those hotels create in Central Texas.”

The Texas Tribune reached out to different conference and customer bureaus in Dallas and Arlington to ask about cancellations, however they didn’t instantly reply. A Visit Houston spokesperson stated their bureau didn’t have cancellations associated to the tip of the state’s masks order, which they attribute to its “proactive communication” about well being precautions.

Flannigan stated shopper sentiment and confidence of their security closely impacts business.

“Nothing will help the return of the economy more than the prevention and the public health requirements to arrest the spread of this virus,” he stated. “And I hope that the governor lifting the mask mandate ends up not being a horrible decision as it relates to the health of Texas.”

Abbott didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

On Thursday, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology introduced it was canceling the in-person portion of its annual convention that was to be held in Austin because of the finish of Texas’ COVID-19-related precautions.

Conference organizers had been working with Hilton Austin, the JW Marriott Austin and Fairmont Austin, nevertheless it’s unclear if it is without doubt one of the 4 occasions that ACE stated had been canceled.

Devin Jopp, CEO of the group, stated in an interview that it is already a problem planning protected occasions through the pandemic, however the masking mandate ending “felt like the rug being pulled out from underneath us.” He stated there was no method a corporation devoted to stopping the unfold of infectious illnesses may threat bringing its members to a state and not using a masks mandate.

“The policies that Gov. Abbott moved the state into just created a condition we couldn’t work around,” he stated. “We think it was premature, and I would say that goes with a lot of other sentiment out there.”

The occasion was to be held partially on-line and scaled again from its regular projected attendance of 6,000 to 1,000 because of the pandemic.

Greg Casar, an Austin City Council member, stated the shortage of a masks mandate is not simply driving business from the state, however it’s placing stress on public-facing staff, together with these within the hospitality business, to implement mask-wearing in companies.

“Greg Abbott didn’t help the economy when he lifted the mask rule, he only helped the virus,” he stated. “That’s clearly bad for workers, but it’s bad for business, too. And you can see that clearly with the cancellation of these conferences.”

Even after Texas ended its masks mandate, Austin and Travis County have continued to require masks. In response, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a swimsuit demanding that native officers finish the mandate. A closing listening to to resolve the case will likely be Friday.

Both Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown have stated even when the masks orders are shot down in courtroom this week, they’re glad they had been in a position to maintain the masks mandate within the meantime, permitting extra residents to get vaccinated.

Casar says town will proceed pursuing methods to maintain masks on Austin residents.

“We will not stop doing everything we can to protect health and safety. So even if our mask rules get taken down, we will continue to try to find other ways to require masks,” he stated. “We will continue to work to make sure that everybody wears a mask or that every business requires masks.”


Disclosure: Steve Adler, a former Texas Tribune board chair, and Fairmont Austin have been monetary supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan information group that’s funded partly by donations from members, foundations and company sponsors. Financial supporters play no position within the Tribune’s journalism. Find a whole record of them here.


This article initially appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/25/conventions-texas-mask-mandate/.


The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and fascinating Texans on state politics and coverage. Learn extra at texastribune.org.


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