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Fort Worth Businesses Choose What Safety Measures To Keep As State Mask Mandate, Capacity Limits End

A sign reminds people to socially distance.
Shutterstock
A sign reminds people to socially distance.

As of Wednesday, Texas' statewide mask mandate and capacity limits for businesses end. Two Fort Worth business owners share whether they're sticking to the protocols.

Texas businesses are deciding how to navigate COVID-19 rule changes as Wednesday marks the end of the statewide mask mandate and loosening of business restrictions.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the changes last week, saying “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate." Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley also lifted local restrictions; the county had previously extended the mask order until May.

Two Fort Worth businesses talked about their different approaches to navigating the rule changes in Texas.

Billy Bob’s Texas

Billy Bob’s is a Fort Worth institution. The Stockyards honky-tonk started off the pandemic doing virtual shows. Now that all restrictions are lifted, it will still operate at limited capacity.

The big difference is that masks are no longer required for guests or staff, unless those staff members are interacting with musical acts, said Terran Flusche, Billy Bob’s director of marketing.

“Masks are still highly recommended for everybody. I personally wear a mask when I’m here, and I’ll probably continue to do so until I’m able to get the vaccine,” she said.

Flusche said the venue was strict about masks before, leading to some “feedback” from customers.

"Either way, whether we require masks or we don't require masks, someone's gonna be upset, and someone's gonna be happy," she said.

Black Coffee

Mia Moss, the owner of Black Coffee on the east side of Fort Worth, said she considered her customers’ reactions when deciding whether to keep or get rid of the mask requirement. In the end, she decided to keep it.

“I actually spoke with my staff, and I spoke with my husband, just to kind of gauge the people around me, how they felt about it,” she said. “My staff really wanted to continue wearing them, because they have families of their own. We have a family at home.”

Moss opened Black Coffee in November 2019. She did not expect a pandemic to throw the globe into turmoil so soon after she launched her business.

Even so, Black Coffee survived 2020. She said her customers have also supported her keeping COVID protocols in place.

“With my customers, we generally all kind of felt the same way, is what I noticed,” she said.

Visit Fort Worth, the city’s tourism board, is compiling a list of businesses that still require or encourage mask-wearing. You can find it here.

Even with COVID-19 vaccinations opening to more and more Texans, the pandemic is not over, and the CDC still recommends mask-wearing to prevent spreading the coronavirus to others.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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