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Adler Backtracks After Initially Saying He Did 'Not Do Anything Wrong' In Flying To Mexico During The Pandemic

Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaks at a news conference in March 2020.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaks at a news conference in March announcing the cancellation of South By Southwest because of COVID-19.

After initially saying he didn't do anything wrong, Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he now realizes he "set a bad example" by traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation last month.

An Austin American-Statesman story revealed Wednesday that Adler attended an in-person wedding for his daughter in early November and then flew with others to Cabo for a weeklong vacation.

At the same time, Adler was encouraging people to stay home to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.

Read the transcript of Adler's conversation with KUT

“Not only did we not do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything that abrogated or violated the rules or regulations in the city, or the conduct that we were expecting of others that we also expect of ourselves,” Adler initially told KUT.

Adler confirmed to KUT that 20 people attended the wedding, which was held outside at a hotel and restaurant on South Congress. He said people were seated at distanced tables but that not everyone was wearing masks.

At the time of the wedding, which was held in early November, the city and county were under Stage 3 of Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines, with public health officials urging people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

Adler said his daughter had originally invited about 100 people to the wedding but disinvited dozens to hold a much smaller gathering.

“It’s a hard thing for a girl to do, but there are girls all over the city that are having to do the same kind of thing, couples all over the city that are having to do the same kind of thing,” Adler said.

When asked why the family didn’t decide to postpone the wedding indefinitely, he said: “We’re not asking people to not get married.”

A few hours after speaking with KUT, Adler released a statement saying he "regrets" his decision to travel.

"I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas," he wrote. "But my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior. In hindsight, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize."

This post has been updated.

Got a tip? Email Audrey McGlinchy at audrey@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.

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