Customers at a Mexican restaurant in Texas threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about employees for their refusal to work without a mask, according to the owner of the establishment.
“This has been ongoing through COVID,” Steven O’Sullivan, owner of Cantina Barba in Houston, told The Washington Post.
“We have received threats to call ICE,” O’Sullivan said. “A guy stood there and reprimanded one of my waiters and said, ‘You’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you want.’ You’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid, bla blah blah. Nobody wants to deal with those things. “
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced last week that he has rescinded the state mask mandate and will allow companies to operate at 100 percent capacity.
“We continue to strongly advocate that all Texans follow best practices,” Abbot said. “Where we are today is completely different from where we were last year when Texans and Americans didn’t know how to deal with this. For a whole year, Texans have learned best practice, and that’s wearing a mask, and still We highly recommend that people wear a mask. ”
The Post chronicled a number of businesses in Texas whose owners say they will require anyone in their stores to wear face covers for safety for their employees and customers.
Monica Richards, co-owner of the Mexican restaurant Picos, said she and her staff have received messages of harassment on social media and at the store over the phone.
“It was just awful,” Richards told the Post. “People don’t understand unless you’re in our business how it felt, how difficult it was to go through everything we went through during COVID. For people to be negative towards us for trying to stay safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, it just doesn’t make sense to us. “
Federal health officials have criticized Abbott’s decision on mask mandates and similar measures by governors in states like Mississippi.
“I understand the need to want to get back to normal, but it’s only going to regress if you completely set aside public health guidelines, especially when we’re dealing with any part of [55,000] to 70,000 infections per day in the United States “, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday Show Preview: Manchin Makes the Rounds After Key Role in Coronavirus Relief Debate Night Defense: White House Open to Reform War Powers | Army base could house migrant children | Fauci Scolds Military for Vaccinations Night Health Care: CDC Study Links Masks to Fewer COVID-19 Deaths | Relief debate stalls in Senate | Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers MORE said this week.