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Bars, restaurants prep to enforce Harris County mask order

Some businesses aren’t waiting until Monday to get started.

HOUSTON, Texas — Starting Monday, all bars and restaurants in Harris County must require all employees and customers to wear face coverings inside their businesses.

Under this new Harris County mandate, signed Friday by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, businesses that don’t follow the rules face a $1,000 fine per violation.

However, some businesses aren’t waiting until Monday to enforce this new order.

Restaurants like Shabu Zone are adjusting to a COVID-19 world.

Rose Zhao, manager of Shabu Zone said, “We provide the customers with individual tongs. And they also have their own masks and we check their temperatures.”

She said that’s why the all-you-can-eat Japanese hot pot restaurant started requiring all customers to wear masks inside its business on June 1, weeks before the county issued its order requiring everyone to do so.

“If anybody walks up to the buffet section or is walking around without a mask, usually a staff member or a manager will inform them to keep the mask on as well,” Zhao said.

She said those who don’t have one will get one from the restaurant.

Also, Zhao said those who don’t want to wear one won’t be served.

“Unfortunately, we can’t let them eat in the restaurant,” she said.

RELATED: FAQs: What to expect with Harris County mask order for businesses, customers

In addition, Miss Carousel in East Downtown also got a jump start on the county’s new mask order on Friday to ensure the safety of guests and employees.

Bar manager Tiffany Kirk said as far as acclimating, this is the new normal.

Kirk said, “It’s just about remaining consistent about asking them to keep their masks on both upon entering the building and if they choose to move and either go to the bathroom or go to the bar.”

Kirk said the craft cocktail bar doesn’t think the order will affect the guests’ experience.

“It is as comfortable as we can make it,” she said. “You don’t have to wear your mask once you’re seated at your table. You can take it off and you can enjoy your experience with us.”

Signs are posted letting people know of the mask requirement at both businesses.

They understand some may not want to wear one, but as a business they must abide by the county's mandate set in place.

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