Texas bar owner bans customers from wearing masks inside


ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — A tavern in Elgin, Texas has banned its customers from coming in covered up. 

“Due to our concern for our customers, if they FEEL (not think) that they need to wear a mask, they should stay home until they FEEL it’s safe to be in public wihtout one. Sorry, No Mask Allowed.”

posted sign at Liberty Tree tavern

According to a 2018 census, the City of Elgin has a little over 10,000 residents. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the city has reported that 52 of those residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is more of a push back—the snitches, and the contact tracers out there,” said Kevin Smith, Co-Owner of the Liberty Tree Tavern. “This is still a rural county.”

Smith says he’s still following social distancing guidelines as set in place by the Centers for Disease Control.

“I think that’s a risk. I think that’s foolish,” says Elgin resident Ross Owens. “They’re taking chances they don’t need to take, especially if they’re in public service.”

Charles Chamberlain has been eagerly waiting for Liberty Tree Tavern to open back up. He says he’s not fazed by the tavern’s posting.

“I’m a stage 4 cancer survivor. It’s just a choice. He just put that up there to let people know if they aren’t feeling good, then they maybe shouldn’t come,” says Chamberlain. “Everybody is keeping safe distances, they aren’t bunching up.”

Along Main Street in Elgin, some businesses require masks, while others suggest wearing them at your own discretion. 

“I don’t know anyone personally—and I know a lot of people—that’s gotten the virus or has died,” says Sherrill Schier, owner of ETX Travel in Elgin.

Schier is not a mask-wearer, but does have them on-hand for her customers.

“People are just comfortable. We are a small town, we don’t have a lot of crowds. We are okay,” says Schier.

Any bars that reopen in Texas are supposed to keep in-person service at 25% occupancy, but there are no outdoor occupancy limits at bars with a patio area.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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