Texans Now Asking Themselves “Mask On or Mask Off?”
I feel like Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movie saying "Wax on, wax off", only now it's "Mask on, mask off". Or maybe I'm channeling Shakespeare's Hamlet, with his famous existential crisis phrased as, "To be, or not to be?".
Today, March 10th, marks the official lift of the statewide mask mandate in Texas, and restaurants and bars can operate at 100% occupancy.
Many businesses in the Central Texas area are still following the CDC guidelines to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, including asking customers to wear a mask. H-E-B seems to be catching the most flack for it, even though they're only asking politely while some employees demand stricter implementation of their mask policy.
But some are embracing the mask mandate being lifted, though one Texas business has become the poster child for how not to ease back into normalcy.
Concrete Cowboy, a bar in Houston, recently posted a flyer to social media for their Mask Off Party, which had been scheduled to begin at 12:01 AM Wednesday with discounted bottle service to patrons who decided to attend.
24 hours after making the post on their Instagram, the bar took it down. What prompted their change of heart? Local officials demanded that the event be cancelled, stating it would be a super spreader event.
So now businesses find themselves in a predicament. If they ask patrons to continue wearing a mask, they risk some customers taking their business elsewhere (even if they aren't strictly required to wear a mask) or, in extreme cases, possibly harassing employees due to the policy.
However, if they don't ask customers to wear a mask, they also risk alienating many who won't feel comfortable doing business there while the pandemic continues.
Remember that in his announcement early last week, Governor Abbott said lifting the statewide mask mandate didn't lift personal responsibility, nor did it mean private businesses couldn't keep their mask policies in place.
So, what do you think? Will you decide where to spend your money based on whether a business has a mask policy or not? Are you going to continue to wear a mask or not, regardless of a store's policy?