HOUSTON — Texas' statewide mask order will be null and void beginning Wednesday, but this decision has already caused a lot of controvery for business owners stuck between a rock and hard place.
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he is lifting statewide coronavirus restrictions and ending the Texas mask mandate, effective Wednesday, March 10. This means Texans will no longer be required by law to wear masks in public spaces.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The above video originally aired March 4.
But Texas business owners can still enfoce wearing masks in their establishments if they choose.
Picos Mexican restaurant owner Arnaldo Richards said he will continue to follow the same safety guidelines that were already in place at his restaurant -- which include wearing masks. He said he has gotten some ugly messages based off his decision, including people threatening to call ICE on his employees.
“Saying you shouldn’t be going against the governor they are going to send immigration and check green cards. Come on? What does that have to with anything? Some people are haters we are going to continue to do what we are doing to keep our employees and community safe,” said Richards.
Richards isn't the only business owner who is deciding to keep masks in place.
Other restaurant owners said they may start posting the Texas Restaurant Promise on their doors to encourage customers to continue to wear masks.
“Being able to have capacity is great but that is not going to mean anything if customers and employees don’t feel safe to actually come to the restaurant,” said Kelsey Erickson Streufert to Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy Texas restaurant association.
And that is the concern many diners have once the mask mandate is lifted.
Local blogger and influencer of “Its not Hou is me” says she was inundated with private messages from people concerned about businesses that would stop following the CDC guidelines. So she created a spreadsheet where people can update local business policies to help keep people safe and informed.
So far as of Friday March 5 she has over 700 on the list.