A Texas couple were denied service at a restaurant because they were wearing masks.
Natalie Wester spoke to CBS DFW, a local TV station, about her experience with her husband, Jose, and a few friends.
Last week, she said, the Westers went to Hang Time, a bar and restaurant in Rowlett, 20 miles outside Dallas, for a rare outing.
“If you’ve ever been new parents, having those couple of hours out like once or twice a month is so important for your mental health,” Natalie said.
The Westers are both fully vaccinated but stay masked indoors to protect their four-month-old son, who is immunocompromised. At Hang Time, a server asked them to take the masks off.
“Our waitress came over, sat down next to me and said, ‘Our manager told me to come over because I am nicer than he is … But this is political and I need you to take your masks off,’” Natalie said.
When they said they did not want to do so, they were asked to leave.
Like many other US states, Texas has struggled to cope with a surge in Covid cases and deaths caused by the infectious Delta virus variant, and with resistance to vaccines. Nonetheless, Governor Greg Abbott, who tested positive himself in August, has attempted to ban mask mandates.
Hang Time has a “no mask” policy. Its owner, identified only as Tom, said: “I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now.”
Speaking to CBS DFW, he said the “no mask” rule was part of the restaurant dress code and he reserved the right to refuse business.
The policy was not posted in the restaurant, the station said, adding that before seating guests, a hostess informed customers they must remove masks at the door. On Monday, Hang Time’s website had no mention of the rule. Calls for comment went unanswered.
The owner told CBS DFW that while he had not known the Westers had an immunocompromised child, he planned to continue enforcing the policy.
“I have spent my money on the business, my blood sweat and tears in this business, and I don’t want masks in here,” he said.