"We need to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely. ... We may have to close things down if we are not careful." Those were the words spoken by Austin Mayor Steve Adler—in a video recorded from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he was on vacation. Adler didn't, of course, publicize that information in the video message to residents of his Texas city in early November, but the Austin American-Statesman revealed Wednesday that, prior to recording the video warning of an impending coronavirus surge, Adler had hosted an outdoor wedding and reception for his daughter at a hotel in the city, then headed south of the border the following morning on a private plane. Seven other attendees of the 20-guest wedding went along; they spent a week at a family timeshare.
After the news was reported, Adler apologized and said he regretted the travel, but claimed it violated neither Austin's health order nor the larger Texas guidelines implemented by the governor. The Statesman, however, says Austin was at the time recommending no gatherings of more than 10 people. Adler, a Democrat, tells the paper he consulted with the city's interim health director about how to make the wedding as safe as possible, and that all attendees took rapid COVID tests, were given masks, and were asked to stay distanced from one another. He insisted his case was different from that of Denver's mayor or two California officials, all of whom have also seemed to flout their own coronavirus guidelines in recent days, because he was still acting consistently with his recommendations at the time. People, however, were not impressed: the Statesman reports "Cabo" was trending on Twitter Wednesday, with many criticizing the "hypocrisy." (Read more coronavirus stories.)