‘Mask Off’ Party to Celebrate Texas Lifting of Covid Mandates Criticized by Houston Officials

A Houston nightclub “take off the mask” party, scheduled for early Wednesday morning to celebrate the lifting of state Covid-19 mandates in Texas, has local leaders fear another spike in coronavirus cases.

The Concrete Cowboy is telling customers to come to their bar at 12:01 am Wednesday for the “take off the mask” party, complete with bottles of Veuve and Gray Goose, for $ 100 and $ 150 respectively, they said. Mayor Sylvester Turner and State Representative Ann Johnson. .

Lawmakers posted an image of an announcement for the party, which appears to have been posted on an Instagram story. But those posts disappear after 24 hours and there was no sign of that flyer on the club’s website, Facebook and Instagram on Monday morning.

Turner and Johnson said such celebrations will lead to an increase in Covid cases and asked Concrete Cowboy to cancel the party.

“We are not the dumping ground for events that will put Texans in danger and cause people to lose their lives,” Turner told reporters Sunday.

A representative for the Concrete Cowboy could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

“This is a dangerous and irresponsible event that is literally a slap in the face to our healthcare workers who are risking their lives, to family members who have lost loved ones, and to all Houstonians who honor the holiness of life instead of getting an expensive cocktail, “Johnson said.

“I applaud responsible bar owners, who are seizing this moment and doing it well.”

Governor Greg Abbott announced last week that the Lone Star state would be fully open for business with no state laws requiring masks.

Its executive order appears to allow local jurisdictions with a high burden of Covid cases to institute masking mandates, but prohibits them from using fines or jail to enforce them.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Turner told NBC News on Monday that city attorneys are still reviewing Abbott’s order to determine what power, if any, local governments might have to enforce Covid protocols.

More than 527,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 as of Monday morning, according to the NBC News tally.

Texas, the second most populous state in the union, has lost more than 45,000 lives to the virus, a rate of 157 per 100,000 residents. The nation’s most populous state, California, has lost more than other jurisdictions – about 54,000, a rate of 137 per 100,000.

And more than 14 percent of Covid-19 tests are giving positive results in Texas, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Only five states and Puerto Rico have higher rates.

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