70% of Houston-area restaurants still asking customers to wear masks, survey finds

Jeff Ehling Image
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
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The Texas Restaurant Association found that 70% of restaurant owners will require staff to wear masks, and will "request" customers do the same.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Starting today, it is up to private businesses if they want to continue requiring masks.

Right now, 70% of restaurant owners in the Houston area surveyed by the Texas Restaurant Association will have their staffs wear masks, and will request customers do the same.

"We are not looking for conflict. We never are. Customer service is not about that. Our goal is to take care of employees, take care of our customers and our community," said Melissa Stewart of the Texas Restaurant Association Greater Area Houston Chapter.

However, there are still places you must wear a mask, despite Gov. Greg Abbott ending state mandates.

RELATED: Places in Houston where you do and don't have to wear masks now that mandate is over

Because there is a federal mask order in place for transportation, you will still need to wear a mask on buses, airplanes, at the airport and more.

Officials at the Houston Airport system are still enforcing the mask rule.

The same goes for METRO. You have to wear a mask on the bus or the METRORail.

ABC13 also called local hospitals.

The Harris Health System, which runs Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, say there is no change to their mask policy. They still require visitors and staff to wear masks.

So, what happens when vaccines become more common place? Will there be two sets of waiting rooms for the vaccinated and unvaccinated? Or two seating areas at the airport, hospitals or restaurants?

ABC13 asked a legal analyst what the law says about segregating based on vaccinations.

RELATED: New website helps navigate who's requiring masks and who's not

"You are not supposed to ask someone questions about their medical condition, and I imagine that includes, 'Hey, have you been vaccinated or not?'" said ABC13 Legal Analyst Steve Shellist. "I think that question is going to be off limits."

As for a vaccine passport to travel on planes, it is an idea being discussed by lawmakers and health professionals.

If you have CLEAR, the fast pass for travelers at customs, you can already upload your vaccine record and have it in case you are ever asked to prove vaccinations.

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SEE ALSO: List of Houston-area school districts requiring masks after Texas' mandate lifts