Texas AG Ken Paxton Sues Austin Over New COVID-19 Restrictions

Texas AG Ken Paxton Sues Austin Over New COVID-19 Restrictions paxton in a black suit and red patterned tie wearing a headset Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Thursday, 31 December 2020 02:40 PM

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city of Austin and Travis County over new coronavirus restrictions.

The suit looks to stop Austin and the county from enforcing a temporary ban on in-person dining and beverage restrictions over the New Year’s holiday.

The local officials had ordered an emergency shutdown on Tuesday, banning indoor and outdoor dine-in food and beverage services between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to The Hill.

The order took effect Thursday and was expected to run until Jan. 3.

Paxton maintains the latest restrictions violate an executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. That order mandates “every business establishment in Texas shall operate” under certain protocols, but without limits on hours of operations.

Paxton, appearing on Fox News Thursday, said the local restrictions “are in direct violation of what the governor put out in his executive order. And his executive order governs these restrictions.”

And, Paxton added, the local officials "tried to sneak this one in two days ago and we’re going to stop them because it’s in violation of state law."

But Austin Mayor Steve Adler, in a statement to The Hill, said: "We believe cities have the authority to react to local conditions and protect their residents when the state won’t. We also believe our orders do not conflict with the Governor’s rules."