Midland Mayor Patrick Payton issues statement on Gov. Abbott’s mask order

Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 2:06 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Midland Mayor Patrick Payton released the following statement on Friday regarding Governor Greg Abbott’s mask order:

“Though disappointed in the ongoing Executive overreach of Governor Abbott into local matters dealing with community health, one can also respect and appreciate the nearly impossible nature of dealing with unprecedented events in the daily lives of Texans. Bearing in mind that community health concerns surrounding COVID-19 seem to change on a daily basis, we must once again adjust to new executive mandates at the local level. Pursuant to the Governor’s most recent executive order, the following directives – taken directly from the Governor’s order - will be in effect throughout Midland until we have 20 or fewer cases within Midland County.

I will not be asking our police department to respond to calls reporting individuals in violation of this executive order. We cannot, and I will not, have our police chasing reports of people in violation of the mask requirement knowing that there will not only be multiple unenforceable scenarios, but also exceptions and circumstances that make this mask mandate unenforceable throughout the city. I will fully expect our police to pursue any calls related to a threatening or violent situation towards any individual arising out of the application of the Governor’s mask mandate. As always, police will continue to address matters of public safety through prioritized assessment.

Each and every one of us know what we can, and should, do in this moment of health crisis, and we should do our best to honor the lives and health of all those around us through personal application of masks in public places for the next few weeks. This is not new to us and I have already requested these actions from our great city and her residents.

I do not believe that we as a state should continue in this pattern of executive fiat over the entire state without legislative checks and balances. Until such a time when the Texas Legislature finally engages this unprecedented season, we at the local level are the only check and balance to statewide mandates being applied to a fluid and varied situation throughout a radically diverse state. I firmly believe the residents of Midland were already prepared and actually applying the needed actions of masking headed into the Fourth of July weekend.

Now, with the added weight of the Governor’s order, we will continue in what we have already begun but with a few more restrictions on crowd sizes and events.

Moving forward let’s continue to do what we have all seen as the necessary path to attempted control of a virus. As I have stated before, until we have a vaccine or herd immunity we will continue to trampoline back and forth between behaviors. Moving forward there must be local control and self-governance until the active engagement of the legislative branch of Texas if we are going to uphold the principles of self-governance, freedom and democracy this country and state are founded upon—principles not to be easily forgotten during a weekend in which we celebrate our historic independence.”

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