HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Walking up any strip of businesses these days, it’s rare not to find one with a sign telling customers to wear a face mask.
Now, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s big announcement to reopen the state 100% next week, those signs could be coming down.
Abbott is giving businesses a choice on whether or not they want to open at 100% capacity and whether or not they’ll require patrons to wear masks. The fine print of his order says a business can require: “Employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering.”
It also says businesses can call police to “enforce trespassing laws and remove violators.”
For the first time in almost a year, businesses will now have more control.
“I’m kind of back and forth; I understand it,” said Ruby King, co-owner of Center Field Sports Bar. “I just want to make sure that everybody’s safe.”
King is excited about Abbott lifting COVID-19 protocols.
“It would be great to do without,” King said. ”We would kind of get with everyone else and see what their thoughts are.”
Bishop Badger, owner of Buck’s Backyard Live Music Venue, is looking forward to the independence.
“Oh my gosh, we are so ready,” Badger said. “And everybody else is.”
But he isn’t sure it’ll change much.
“We’ll still offer masks to anyone who wants one,” Badger said. “We want everyone to feel comfortable.”
But there are still some who aren’t comfortable with the governor’s announcement.
“Just give it a little bit more time,” Cynthia De Leon-Espinosa, a neighbor said. “I think it’s too soon for no masks. I’ll still be wearing mine.”
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra calls the new executive order reckless.
“I find it mildly reckless,” Becerra said. “And I hope that people don’t see this as a ‘it’s all behind us’ approach.”
Abbott said he does understand concerns, which is why he won’t stop businesses who want to maintain protocols.
“People and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate,” Abbott said.