HOUSTON — The owner of Concrete Cowboy has had a change of heart about throwing a bash to celebrate the end of the statewide mask mandate.
After coming under fire for the "Mask Off Party," the owner emailed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to let him know he's canceling the party.
"I want to thank the bar for the steps they're taking to protect people from COVID," Turner said Monday.
The mayor and other local leaders had warned the party would be a "super spreader event."
Turner reminded the public that at least five variants of the coronavirus have been detected in the Houston area. He added health officials are concerned about a fourth coronavirus surge once the state is fully reopened despite ongoing vaccination efforts.
Governor Greg Abbott's announcement last week that the statewide mask mandate and capacity limits will end on Wednesday, March 10, was met with mixed reviews.
Some Houston leaders and health experts believe the decision could jeopardize the progress made in lowering hospitalizations.
"What I'm hearing more and more of is that promoters across the country are saying that because Texas is fully opened— because they can't hold their events in their respective cities, in their states— they are bringing their events to Texas," Turner said. "And that poses a serious risk."
Mask mandate supporters hope residents will continue wearing them and following COVID-19 safety habits like social distancing.
Meanwhile, other policy makers, such as Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, applauded the governor's decision. Many had been advocating for Texas reopening to save struggling businesses and feel facial coverings should be a personal choice.
Businesses still have the option to require masks and many say they'll continue to do so.
Watch: Local leaders urged bar to cancel party