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Austin Mayor Steve Adler Issues Apology After Telling Residents To Stay Home To Stop COVID-19 Spread As He Left For Mexican Vacation

(CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – The backlash continues after Austin Mayor Steve Adler hosted a wedding in early November, then hopped on a plane bound for Cabo San Lucas — all this after warning Austinites about an impending COVID-19 surge and urging them to stay home.

On Wednesday the Mayor posted a video on YouTube saying that he regrets traveling to Mexico as he encouraged residents to be cautious about the spread of the coronavirus.

“The first week of November, my daughter got married here in Austin, and like many other brides, she had to cancel her original plans in order to follow the rules, and instead she had a small mostly family, very private wedding,” he said. “Afterward, a small, mostly family group traveled to Mexico.”

“I want you to know that I regret that travel. I wouldn’t travel now. I didn’t over Thanksgiving, and I won’t over Christmas, and no one should. Everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now because we are in the orange area,” he said.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler. (credit: Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)

Orange is Stage 4 on the Austin Public Health (APH) color-coded chart, according to the city’s website. The risk-based guidelines set out five stages of risk, from the lowest threat, Stage 1, through the most serious, Stage 5.

The chart is published to help residents of Austin-Travis County understand the stages of risk and provide recommendations on what people should do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the website.

In the video message, Adler said, “Now, I fear that the travel that I did, which took place during a safer period, followed the color-coded rules, could lead to some taking riskier behavior now.”

At the time, Austin was under Stage 3 health recommendations, which meant people were advised to avoid social gatherings greater than 10 people, but there were no restrictions or recommendations made on avoiding non-essential travel, according to the city.

“I recognize that my travel set a bad example. I recognize that the fact that I took that trip, and at the same time, was continuing to urge people to be cautious is confusing,” he added.

“I know that others have chosen not to travel under the same circumstances, and I know that in my position, I need to send a clearer message. I’m sorry I took that trip. It was a lapse in judgment, and I want you to know that I apologize.”

Adler’s travels came to light when the Austin American-Statesman published an article on December 2 that reported that a video Adler posted to Facebook on November 9 was taken during his stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

In the November 9 video, Adler talked about COVID-19 trends in Austin, saying, “The thrust of the most important message is trying to get out to the community right now is that our numbers are increasing, and everybody has to be aware of that, and we need to stay home if you can. Do everything you can to try to keep the numbers down. This is not the time to relax.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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