AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott retweeted a video on Wednesday evening of people gathering with masks for a large in-person service at an Austin church.
The governor's retweet comes as Austin has reached Stage 5 of its coronavirus response, which recommends no gatherings with people outside of your household. The Stage 5 declaration – indicating average hospital admissions for COVID-19 locally are at more than 50 per day – is non-binding because local governments cannot go against the State's reopening orders.
However, counties may scale back if they meet certain criteria, which were set by the governor: if COVID-19 patients make up more than 15% of all hospital beds in one region for more than a week, counties in that region can limit capacities at places like restaurants, stores and other indoor facilities. COVID-19 patients currently make up 10% of Austin-area hospital capacity and 24% of ICU capacity.
Abbott's tweet was the latest example that the State's orders supersede local ones.
Abbott's full tweet read, "Who said Austin is locked down? Christmas is being celebrated in Austin and in Texas. Everyone already knows the safe things to do."
The video Abbott retweeted was part of a thread started by Chuck Woolery, a former game show host with a large Twitter following. Woolery tweeted "Austin Texas on lockdown."
The video, which has garnered thousands of views since Abbott retweeted it, depicts a church service at Life Austin.
KVUE has reached out to the person who tweeted the video and also to the pastors of the church.
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