Local businesses can continue to enforce mask policies
Even though Gov. Greg Abbott gave businesses the green light to fully open next Wednesday, a local restaurant owner is among those saying they’re not ready to loosen safety precautions.
“The customers have to wear the mask when they walk in the restaurant because it’s safe for everybody,” said Tony Ma, the owner of the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Houston.
Ma was forced to temporarily shut down his restaurant last year from March to May because of the pandemic.
“And after that, for five months, to-go only and my business [was] okay," Ma said.
Business has slowly picked up again - especially when Ma re-opened the dine-in area - but he's been following health and safety guidelines to the tee. Even though the state's mandatory mask mandate is ending and businesses will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity starting on March 10th, Ma isn't ready to move his business in that direction.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling says people could face criminal trespassing charges if they refuse to wear a mask inside of a business that requires one.
"Because now you're in a place that says, 'We don't want you in here for a legitimate reason,' and if you stay in there, they can remove you,” Darling said. "Respect that business, you know, or go someplace else.”
For now, Ma plans to keep masks mandatory and limit capacity inside of his restaurant to 75 percent, at least for the next few months.
McAllen city officials say a business has the right to require masks inside of their establishment.
As for public facilities in the city, Darling says they're checking with the state to see if can legally still require people to wear a mask.
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