Harris County Republican Party Chairman Paul Simpson released the following statement today regarding Democrat Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's order mandating that anyone over 10 years-old in Harris County wear a mask in public for the next 30 days or be faced with a $1,000 fine:
“Harris County Judge Hidalgo's edict threatening everyone older than 10 – of 4.7 million people in our County – with a $1,000 fine if they do not wear a mask everywhere exemplifies irresponsible governance and a likely unconstitutional, and certainly unenforceable, power grab that infringes on the rights and liberty of law-abiding citizens who want their lives back.
“Everyone is doing more than their part to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That includes washing hands, social distancing, and respecting guidelines issued by the President's Coronavirus Task Force and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Law enforcement and first responders continue to risk their lives and health to keep us safe. Judge Hidalgo's order will erode the trust and relationship our law enforcement has built with our community. It will undermine the personal responsibility our citizens have shown throughout this pandemic. Issuing such an unnecessary and excessive measure reflects the County Judge's inexperience and lack of leadership.
“The human cost inflicted by the lockdowns worsens every day. Personal and social ills grow as millions of Americans are out of work, locked in their homes. Less than 40 percent of the population can work from home. The rest are suffering, deprived of basic needs and health care. Our small businesses – the backbone of our economy – are suffering and in danger of extinction. The oil and gas industry, so vital to Houston, is teetering on the brink of disaster, making matters even worse for our region.
“The justification for depriving everyone of liberty was to ensure health care resources were available. Now, even while the effects of the virus are peaking, those resources are in ample supply. The lockdown can no longer be justified. Rather than look for ways to double down on the pain that Harris County families, first responders, workers, and business owners are already feeling, Judge Hidalgo should focus on solutions that provide relief, help people get back on their feet, and support Governor Abbott's effective decision-making and leadership, rather than issue her own misguided, irresponsible orders.”