City and county officials react to Governor Abbott’s new order mandating masks

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ABILENE, TX. (KTAB/KRBC)- On Thursday, Big Country officials came together to discuss Governor Abbott’s new order requiring the use of masks and how the area will respond.

“If we do not contain this measure right now, we will lose the last, best chance to slow the Coronavirus for anything short of having to shut our economy back down. That’s the last thing we want to have happen in Texas,” said Governor Greg Abbott.

With the number of patients being admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 related reasons in Abilene on the rise, City Manager Robert Hanna says it is important to follow Governor Abbott’s order to help stop the spread.

“Hospitalization has increased 540% in the last week. That’s not anything to just dismiss, that’s something that’s serious and people need to do what they can to limit the spread,” said Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna.

The timing of Governor Abbott’s order caught many public officials off guard, but Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls and Mayor Anthony Williams say, there is no confusion over how the order will be enforced.

“Governor Abbott in putting his orders into place supersedes our orders, so in effect he takes that out of our hands, and whatever he says to do, that’s what we are going to do because he can mandate that we do that,” said Judge Downing Bolls.

“Abilene and this county are going to submit ourselves to the laws of this country, and this state. We won’t have anarchy in Abilene, Texas,” said Mayor Anthony Williams.

On Thursday afternoon the City of Abilene sent out a code red alert, which City Manager Robert Hanna says was not intended to scare the public.

“To educate people, give them the information, and allow them to make an informed decision. It’s not intended to scare anybody, it’s not intended to agitate, it’s not intended to stir the pot. It’s just an attempt to give good people, good solid information,” said Hanna.

On Thursday Taylor County recorded almost 67 new positive cases, and the sixth Coronavirus related death. Big Country officials say this is a problem that people have to understand the importance of.

“There are 18 people in the hospital today who are struggling with this disease, and they’re not there because this is a myth. This thing is real,” said Hanna.

“This is nothing to be played around with, and people who think they’re somehow immune from this, that’s just not the case,” said Judge Bolls.

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