Texas

The Texas Restaurant Association Wants A Statewide Face-Mask Mandate

The Texas Restaurant Association is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to enforce a statewide face-mask policy, instead of relying on businesses to enforce their own policies.

A restaurant in Austin announces its reopening, amid the gradual lifting of restrictions on Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Texas Standard:

Some of the state's most populated cities and counties are mandating businesses require customers to wear face masks. The ordinances started going into effect over the weekend.

In Harris and Bexar counties, for example, businesses can now be fined up to $1,000 per violation if they don’t comply with countywide face-mask ordinances. Dallas County businesses can now be fined up to $500 per violation.

 

Emily Williams Knight, CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to enforce a statewide face-mask policy instead.

"Where we have a concern is asking businesses, in particular, small businesses that make up most of the restaurant sector, to enforce that," she told Texas Standard Host David Brown on Monday.

Williams Knight said she fully supports the use of face masks in restaurants to stop the spread of COVID-19, but wants officials to create more consistency and eliminate confusion.

"We operate in many different counties and cities," she said of the restaurant industry. "Operators are waking up this morning trying to determine where these orders are in effect, and consumers are waking wondering, when they cross county lines, do they need a mask or not?"

The biggest concern for small businesses is that, by enforcing these rules themselves, workers could face unsafe situations.

"We had instances where guests and employees encounter one another and it can be very contentious up to the point of violence. And so our issue is making sure our front-line employees are protected," Williams Knight said.

In the meantime, to make things easier on restaurant workers, the Restaurant Association is encouraging local officials to take the lead, letting customers know about the requirements.

Web story by Sarah Gabrielli. Paul DeBenedetto contributed to this story.

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