COVID-19 restrictions will soon be lifted in the state of Texas and business owners are already feeling the effects. Patrons at a Mexican restaurant in Houston threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on workers who wouldn’t take their masks off on the job.
“We’ve had threats of calling ICE,” he said. “I had one guy just stand there and berate one of my bartenders and tell her, ‘You’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid,’” O’Sullivan added. “Nobody wants to deal with that stuff.”
Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state would no longer have a mask mandate and businesses could reopen at full capacity, following a decline in new cases and hospitalizations in the last several weeks. Top health experts have called the restriction life “ill-advised” and have expressed concern over a potential spring surge in coronavirus cases.
In the report by The Washington Post, several business owners cited difficulty the lift in restrictions at the state level would have in enforcing safety measures at their businesses.
“People don’t understand unless you’re in business what it felt like, how hard it was to go through everything we went through during COVID. For people to be negative toward us for trying to remain safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, just makes zero sense to us,” Pico Mexican restaurant co-owner Monica Richards told The Post. Richards said she and some members of her staff were harassed on social media and on the store’s phone after employees continued to wear masks while at work.
The coronavirus has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and with many people of color making up service industry workers, the impact of not wearing masks is particularly dangerous.
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this: “I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines –– particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from [55,000] to 70,000 infections per day in the United States.”
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