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Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, on Tuesday called upon Houston-area businesses not to comply with coronavirus lockdown guidance, which he argued had no basis in the U.S. Constitution.
The fierce words came in response to the Department of State Health Services' recommendation for Houston bars to close, while restaurants and other businesses should reduce occupancy because COVID-19 patients have occupied 15% of available beds for seven consecutive days.
Crenshaw said that businesses should "absolutely not" comply with these lockdown measures.
"Lockdowns are not supported by law, they are unconstitutional edicts," Crenshaw tweeted. "Law enforcement should not enforce this. Stop stealing people’s right to make a living."
The congressman’s words come as the Houston area is averaging more than 3,300 COVID-19 cases a day, which is significantly higher than the roughly 2,330 cases per day during the pandemic’s peak over the summer, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Texas Medical Center CEO William McKeon told the paper that the next two months "are shaping up to be our darkest days, given these record numbers."
"Hospitals lag behind in feeling the effects of increases in cases so expect the numbers to keep going in the wrong direction before things get better," he said.
As of Sunday, there were more than 12,500 Texans hospitalized with COVID-19, representing a 240-person increase from the day before, according to official estimates.
"The numbers are going up. Everything is trending in the wrong direction — new cases, hospitalizations, and the positivity rate," said Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor University College of Medicine, according to local news station KHOU.
Hotez noted that he expects many businesses to temporarily close.
"Whether or not we can interrupt virus transmission, and restore our city or county to something that resembles normal depends on how quickly we can vaccinate our population," he added.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.
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