Local restaurants share policies with customers ahead of lifted COVID-19 restrictions — some aren’t happy about it


AUSTIN (KXAN) — This is the last weekend businesses in Texas will have to require masks and limit capacities.

Those orders by Gov. Greg Abbott will be lifted on Wednesday.

While some restaurants and bars are preparing to return to full capacity, others plan to stay the same.

The Texas Restaurant Association says in a poll with over 700 respondents this week, most of their owners said they’d still be requiring masks for employees.

“For guests it’s a little less sure, it’s split about 40% – 40% with another 20% being unsure right now as to what they want to do with guests,” says Anna Tauzin, Texas Restaurant Association chief revenue and innovation officer.

Nathan Lemley says none of the COVID-19 safety protocols will change at his restaurant, Foreign & Domestic.

“Currently we have six foot spacing between all tables, 50% capacity in the dining room,” says Lemley, who is co-owner and co-chef.

All staff and customers will also still have to stay masked up.

“Nobody wants to wear a mask everyday. I mean, but you know if we all feel that’s what we need to do to keep everybody safe,” he says. “We don’t want to open up 100% and then go back to 25% or go back to to-go only, you know, that’s a scary thing to think about.”

The TRA does worry about increased conflicts over rules.

“Communication is really key so that people know exactly what to expect, whenever they walk into your dining room,” Tauzin says.

Kellie Moore, owner of Kellie’s Baking Co. has already gotten some backlash after stating that her rules would also stay the same.

“Just so much hate, you know… It just didn’t stop,” she says.

In the latest Tweet she read, Moore says a man threatened to come to her store with a group.

“He’s going to test us, he’s going to send hundreds of people to our store without masks and watch us see what we’re going to do, see if we’re going to call the cops, and then they’re going to try to sue us,” Moore said.

She says she appreciates other messages and purchases of support — some even coming from new customers across the country.

Moore and Lemley say they’re staying vigilant.

“Most of it is like, okay, if they, if they give you any flack, come get me or Sarah, one of the owners, and we’ll politely ask them to leave,” Lemley explained to his staff. “If they don’t leave, then they’re trespassing and then we have to call the cops on them.”

But it’s something the owners hope can be avoided altogether.

“The governor’s welcome to make any changes he needs to make and businesses are welcome to choose and customers are able to choose,” Moore says.

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