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Texas AG suing Austin, its mayor over COVID-19 indoor dining restrictions

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Texas AG suing Austin, its mayor over COVID-19 indoor dining restrictions 1

The Texas Attorney General sued the city of Austin Wednesday for imposing COVID-19 indoor dining restrictions over New Year’s weekend.

Arguing that local officials did not have the authority to enact the measures, Republican AG Ken Paxton filed suit against the city, mayor Steven Adler, and Travis County Judge Andy Brown.

The curfew made it unlawful for restaurants to offer dine-in services between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. beginning Thursday night and running through Sunday morning.

Austin officials said the restrictions were “limited” in scope and would help to curb a statewide surge in coronavirus cases.

Paxton said the directive violated an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott and pushed for a preliminary injunction to knock it down prior to the weekend.

“Mayor Adler and Judge Brown do not have the authority to flout Gov. Abbott’s executive orders by shutting down businesses in Travis County and our state’s capital city,” Paxton said in a statement.

“The fact that these two local leaders released their orders at night and on the eve of a major holiday shows how much contempt they have for Texans and local businesses.”

Warning of increasing COVID-19 infection rates, Adler has urged city residents to avoid large gatherings over the holiday weekend and said the city was at a “critical” phase in its fight against the virus.

Paxton and Abbott are Republicans and Adler and Brown are Democrats.

A judge was expected to rule on Paxton’s filing after a Wednesday hearing.

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