WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to eliminate the statewide mask mandate and business capacity restrictions starts Wednesday. The order allows businesses to decide whether they will still require employees and customers to wear face masks during the pandemic.
In Williamson County, Judge Bill Gravell has given Abbott’s order a thumbs up, but policies differ across city lines.
“The only thing that is going to change tomorrow is we’re going to continue to wear the masks as staff, but customers will not be forced to wear them,” said Chris Joyce, assistant manager with Barons Creek Vineyards.
At Joyce’s Barons Creek Wine Room on the Georgetown Square, masks are recommended but not required.
“We don’t have a lot of people standing and doing tastings at the bar. Everyone is seated and where they are seated, they are nice and socially distanced,” said Joyce.
The sentiments toward Abbott’s mask repeal at a handful of businesses along the Georgetown Square are the same.
“You aren’t going to see people piling up at the bar four deep, just because our occupancy allows us to,” said Chris Shelgren, general manager of Barrels and Amps. “We’re still going to maintain a safe and clean environment.”
At the popular live music venue on the square, masks are also recommended. It’s also a policy some Williamson County residents are on board with.
“We should be able to live free and choose and make our own choices,” said Daren Kolesar, a Williamson County resident.
However, in Round Rock, a city ordinance requires face coverings in public places when adequate social distancing isn’t possible. The city readopted that policy at its Feb. 25 council meeting, prior to the governor’s repeal.
Round Rock has its own ‘home charter’ and says that rules over the county’s call. Judge Gravell told KXAN Round Rock’s home rule ordinance means its mask rule can stand.
Williamson County also plans to open up its county-run facilities on Wednesday. The Justice Center has been open during the course of the pandemic but closed to in-person juries. March 22 is when the first in-person jury is scheduled for.