Houston mayor dines in support of restaurant targeted by protesters of mask mandate

Monday, January 4, 2021
Mayor dines in support of restaurant targeted by anti-mask protest
Of the demonstration against Miller's Cafe on the north side, the mayor called for an end to the anti-mask "foolishness." We captured Mayor Turner's visit to the eatery.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is calling for an end to "foolishness" like protests against a restaurant where mask-less customers were refused service.

On Monday, the city's mayor dined at Miller's Cafe on North Shepherd Drive, supporting the eatery where employees stated they were merely following rules set forth by the state of Texas.

The restaurant was targeted by protesters over the weekend after customers became upset over being told they had to wear a face mask while inside the business.

An eyewitness who recorded the demonstration in front of the business recalled chants voiced by the group.

"They were chanting, 'My body, My choice.' Something along the lines. 'No mask,'" said Douglas Lopez, who took video of the protest.

WATCH: Raw video from protest outside Houston cafe

A crowd gathered outside the Miller's Cafe location on Shepherd Drive over the weekend after customers got upset after being told to wear a mask while inside.

While inside the restaurant to lend his business, Turner called the demonstrators a different term other than protesters.

"The people who were protesting and demonstrating Miller's Cafe because they asked them to put on a mask - they're bullies," Turner said. "This foolishness has to stop. Put on your mask the pandemic is still very much here."

According to Miller's manager Jessica Beer, the customers in question were offered face masks.

"We asked them to put on a mask and they tried to say they had health issues and that they don't need to wear masks. We said that they did. We tried to give them masks and that's when they started chanting, 'Boycott Miller's,'" Beer recalled.

She added, "We didn't understand. Why us? You know everybody has a sign. It's not even up to us. It's up to the state."

Customers at restaurants across the state are required to cover their faces in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a mandate that has drawn similar protests elsewhere over the past year.

RELATED: Masks off! Protesters claim face mask order unconstitutional

In September, video circulated online of a protest at a Florida Target store where participants demanded that customers remove their masks.

While mask mandates remain in place, enforcement in Houston has not come with widespread fines or documented warnings, according to a check on records in November.

"I don't think it'll be our number one priority," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo explained at the time. "As you can imagine, we're trying to impact violent crime, but it is something where you are subject to a $250 citation."

SEE ALSO: No one is getting tickets for violating mask mandate in Houston

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