A Couple with An Immunocompromised Infant in a Texas Restaurant Told to Remove Masks or Leave
When a couple from Texas went to a restaurant with their four-month-old son who had cystic fibrosis, they were ordered not to wear masks. They were ordered to leave after refusing to remove their masks.
When Natalie Wester and her husband, Jose Lopez, were out with their immunocompromised son, Austin, last week, staff at Hang Time, a restaurant in Rowlett, Texas, urged them multiple times to remove their masks, even though they were both fully vaccinated. To safeguard their infant, they’ve continued to wear masks in public.
Wester vented on Facebook that “Cystic fibrosis is a very life-threatening genetic disorder, and if my son were to contract COVID he would need to be hospitalized,”
Tom Blackmer, the owner of Hang Time Sports Grill & Bar, verified to CBS 11 that no masks are permitted in his establishment. Blackmer also told The Dallas Morning News: “They have a choice to go wherever they want; there are thousands of bars around here. Go somewhere else. …If you are protecting somebody, you should not go out.”
Wester added in her Facebook post of the ordeal: “I am so shocked at the level of ignorance in our country, and scared to think how much worse the pandemic will get knowing so many folks think this way.”
The bar owner’s stance follows Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order, which declares that local governments and schools cannot force Texans to wear masks.
Since the delta version, state mask mandates have varied across the country. Wearing masks can stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and President Biden recently announced a statewide rule for enterprises with more than 100 employees to do so. Texas is one of the states with the highest number of COVID-19 instances in the country. Despite Gov. Abbott’s executive order, some Texas school districts have demanded mask mandates to protect kids and teachers from the virus.
People with disabilities have the right to wear a mask, according to Disability Rights Texas, a legal protection and advocacy organization. The group said in a public statement unrelated to this incident: “In our view, that accommodation might also be offered to family members of individuals with a disability, based either on the law or on notions of neighborliness and common decency.”