Across Texas, all businesses were able to open at full capacity Wednesday as statewide restrictions due to COVID-19 lifted.
The lifted restrictions also include the ending of the statewide mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week. In the Fort Worth Stockyards, businesses like Cowtown Winery no longer required masks for customers.
Employees must still wear coverings, assistant manager Justine Brewer said.
“We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable. We want them to come in and still feel like they can enjoy themselves here and have the option to wear the mask or not,” Brewer said. “We’ll have to make sure that we don’t go over our capacity even though it’s 27 people. It’s a smaller building, so that’s still going to be an issue for us to watch to make sure we don’t have more than that.”
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At Western Legacy Co., store associate Dustin Foster said neither employees or guests have to wear masks. Though, Foster said they will be flexible to ensure people are comfortable.
“If you’re comfortable, you don’t have to wear one. If you feel like you’re not as comfortable, by all means, put one on. Walk in the store,” he said. “If you feel like I need to wear one too, I’ll do that for you as well.”
Though restrictions have lifted statewide, individual business owners can still require masks inside their stores. Ricki Derek with the Scat Jazz Lounge in downtown Fort Worth said they plan to keep their mask policy, along with capacity limits.
“We feel it’s a tad premature. I’m not casting stones at anyone, I’m just saying for us as a family of employees and owners, we feel like it’s too soon,” Derek said.
None of the lounge’s employees are currently vaccinated, Derek added.
“I’m a club owner. I’m as frustrated as the next person to move on, but I feel like it is surreal to say, ‘what the heck…let’s just call it a day’ and move forward,” he said. “Of course, I want the best but I can’t imagine holding out a couple more months isn’t a smarter move and this is coming from someone who desperately needs cash influx and needs people coming out, but not at the expense of what that expense could be.”
Businesses NBC 5 spoke with Wednesday say they will still have masks on hand to offer to customers if they don’t feel comfortable in their stores, even if they do not require face coverings.