Texas bar owner bans customers from wearing masks inside

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ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) – No entrance with a mask.

A tavern in Elgin, Texas has banned its customers from coming in covered up. 

A statement posted outside the tavern reads, “Due to our concern for our citizens, if they feel the need to wear a mask, then they should probably stay home until it’s safe.”

“I think that’s a risk. I think that’s foolish,” said Elgin resident Ross Owens. “They’re taking chances they don’t need to take, especially if they’re in public service.”

According to a 2018 census, the City of Elgin has a little over 10,000 residents. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the city has reported that 52 of those residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is more of a push back — the snitches, and the contact tracers out there,” said Kevin Smith, Co-Owner of the Liberty Tree Tavern. “This is still a rural county.”

Smith says he’s still following social distancing guidelines as set in place by the Centers for Disease Control.

Charles Chamberlain has been eagerly waiting for Liberty Tree Tavern to open back up. He says he’s not fazed by the tavern’s posting.

“I’m a stage 4 cancer survivor. It’s just a choice. He just put that up their to let people know if they aren’t feeling good, then they maybe shouldn’t come,” said Chamberlain. “Everybody is keeping safe distances, they aren’t bunching up.”

Along Main Street in Elgin you’ll find some businesses requiring masks, while others are asking you wear them at your own discretion. 

“I don’t know anyone personally – and I know a lot of people – that’s gotten the virus or has died,” said Sherrill Schier, owner of ETX Travel in Elgin.

Schier is not a mask wearer, but does have them on-hand for her customers.

“People are just comfortable. We are a small town, we don’t have a lot of crowds. We are okay,” said Schier.

Any bars that reopen are supposed to keep in-person service at 25% occupancy, but there are no outdoor occupancy limits at any bars that do have a patio area.

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