‘Mask it or casket’ says state emergency chief as Governor orders Texans to wear masks

September 13, 2020 in News by RBN Staff

source: www.kxan.com

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The surge of new COVID-19 cases that led Gov. Greg Abbott to put a statewide mask order in place also has state leaders defending the response to the virus.

“We have had a very dynamic response to this,” said Texas Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. As an example, he pointed to the expansion of testing for the virus in Texas.

“Not that long ago, there was one lab in the nation that was capable of returning a COVID-19 test. Now we’re at over 960 sites that you can give a specimen and hundreds of labs that are doing COVID-19 tests,” Kidd said.

Chief Kidd listed off what he called “milestone events” in May and June that contributed to the spike in cases. “We had graduations. We had Memorial Day. We had Mother’s Day. We had protests out there. We had a lot of different things where people came together and didn’t follow the instructions of the doctors.”

Kidd believes more Texans need to get the message that they need to take steps like wearing masks to slow the spread of the virus.

“Remember when we had to put out the ‘click it or ticket” in order to get people to wear seatbelts,” Kidd said, referencing a highway safety campaign. “Now should we look at ‘mask it or casket?” Kidd said, citing a meme he saw online.

Texas lawmakers, sidelined throughout Gov. Greg Abbott’s pandemic response, believe they should be included in the state’s effort to fight COVID-19.

“These powers that you are using, we granted them to you but we never gave up our own power, and our own desire, and our own ability to represent our constituents and to honor our duty to our state,” said State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, (D-San Antonio).

The governor of Texas can suspend rules, not laws, during a disaster declaration. The state legislature can end a disaster declaration at any time, whether or not it is in session and is the only state entity permitted to suspend laws under the Texas Constitution.