Houston's Concrete Cowboy cancels 'mask-off' party, Turner says

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The scheduled Houston maskless party is no more. According to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the owner of Concrete Cowboy said it will cancel its "mask-off" party and will not open on Wednesday.

This comes just one day after health care professionals joined city and state leaders to condemn a mask-off party being promoted by the bar on Washington near TC Jester.

"I know I've seen some flyers about the mask-off parties. I don't even get it," said Turner said Sunday.

The flyer given to ABC13 by local leaders, touts a celebration on the same day all Texas-mandated health and safety protocols to prevent COVID-19 are lifted.

But on Monday, during a briefing, Turner shared an email he had received from the owner of Concrete Cowboy.

"Mayor Turner, it was never our intention to host a party where we encourage patrons to not wear a mask," Turner read. "Public safety is our top concern and we will always place health and safety ahead of projects. That being said, we are not only canceling the party, but we will not be opening Concrete Cowboy on Wednesday night to prevent any exposure to COVID-19."

RELATED: How some businesses plan to handle face mask mandate lift

This weekend, Turner said the city of Houston surpassed 2,000 deaths from COVID-19. By Monday, deaths were at 2,018. Turner also reminded people that there are five variants of the virus in the city.

Texas' mask mandate lift and the promotion of Concrete Cowboy's mask-off party sparked concerns of other similar events from other states coming to Texas.

Turner said promoters in states that are not allowed to operate at 100% and forced to wear a mask, are promoting bringing those events to cities like Houston, Dallas and Austin.

"This poses a serious risk," he said.

State Rep. Ann Johnson added that just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should.

"What Governor Abbott has done is give a license to the irresponsible individuals to risk our public health, when he should be pulling their liquor license," she said. "So we are asking all Houstonians to continue to follow healthy measures of socially distancing, getting vaccinated, and doing things to protect our safety."

As of right now, seven percent of Texans are vaccinated. In order to reach herd immunity, 70% of Texans need to be immunized.
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