The City of Austin has made several stupid decisions over the past few years. But this latest display of insanity is on par with some of the worst moves the city’s government has made.
Austin’s government decided that it would cancel the annual Veteran’s Day parade which is held each year to honor those who served in the United States Armed Forces. The city’s COVID-19 restrictions prevented the parade from proceeding as normal.
The city explained its decision in a statement released to Fox News Digital:
Over the summer, we proactively reached out to the event organizer to work through the event permitting process and help them understand health mitigation requirements for special events. The organizers did not submit a COVID-19 Health & Safety form to Austin Public Health for review. On September 28th, the organizers notified ACE that they decided to cancel the event citing the health requirements for an event with 30,000 attendees. At this time, Austin was in Stage 4 of the Risk Based Guidelines and the region had 25 ICU beds left to serve millions of Central Texans. The City is now working with the Parade Foundation on a ribbon cutting dedication ceremony for the Veteran’s Pocket Park.
The statement also explained that to hold an event, the organizers must follow certain criteria including:
Conduct screening of all attendees including but not limited to requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of entering an event.
Develop strategies for maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing.
Include “mask zones” in outdoor event areas where social distancing is not possible.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded by slamming the city and offering to allow veterans and other participants to gather at the state Capitol building. He tweeted:
The City of Austin’s overreaching COVID requirements have forced the Austin Veterans Parade Foundation to cancel their annual event.
I’m inviting them to host a rally on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol.
We celebrate our nation’s heroes in Texas.
The City of Austin's overreaching COVID requirements have forced the Austin Veterans Parade Foundation to cancel their annual event.
I'm inviting them to host a rally on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol.
We celebrate our nation's heroes in Texas. pic.twitter.com/0BsyIBGQF3
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 9, 2021
The Austin Veterans Parade Foundation explained that it was unable to comply with the city’s requirements. “This is something that we could not do as we anticipated some 30,000 attendees to the parade,” they said in a statement. “We are hopeful that in 2022, the restrictions on public gatherings will be back to normal. In lieu of the parade, we are working with the City of Austin and the Austin Veterans Commission to dedicate the Veterans Park on Nov. 11th.”
As one might imagine, there are many who were not happy with this development. Luis Rodriguez, who heads the Wind Therapy Motorcycle Freedom Riders, a military support group, told Axios that the city has allowed other events to proceed. He said:
It’s a slap in the face to those who served. It’s for an open air parade. They allowed Formula 1 to go ahead, and that had five times the number of people as the Super Bowl. They did nothing to shut that down. They’re playing politics with the honor of veterans and those who have served this country.
Axios also noted that the F1 race was held on private property, so the city’s authority to restrict the event was limited.
I might be willing to give the city the benefit of the doubt if it hadn’t allowed left-wing protesters demonstrating against the murder of George Floyd to brazenly congregate in and march through downtown Austin. I attended several of these protests and while law enforcement did not allow protesters to engage in violence, they did not force the crowd to disperse.
The city’s onerous – and largely unnecessary – restrictions meant that an event honoring those who put their lives on the line for the United States was denied to Austin residents and is yet another example of how the hard left ruins everything. The question is: How much longer will they continue using the pandemic as an excuse to enact these measures?