‘My employees are not the mask police,’ local restaurant owner says

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 7:39 PM CST
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SALADO, Texas (KWTX) – K.D. Hill, the owner of Rio Salado restaurant in Salado, says she won’t require customers to wear masks after the state’s mask mandate is lifted, but she will ask nicely and strongly encourage mask use among her diners.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new executive order Tuesday lifting most of the restrictions included in earlier orders including the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on business capacity.

The order, effective at a minute past midnight next Wednesday, effectively shifts the burden of promoting safety in the age of COVID-19 to business and restaurant owners.

“It has been a roller coaster. It has been the most difficult experience of my life and of my career,” Hill said.

Hill plans to require her employees to wear masks during their shifts, but she won’t require her customers to wear them.

“My employees are not the mask police,” Hill said.

“It is not their job to mandate masks or not. Our servers are struggling and the last thing I want to do is make them police our customers. So, we can nicely ask, and we can strongly encourage but that’s all we’re going to do,” she said.

Hill said she decided to require her employees to mask up is partly because her business is in the tourist town of Salado, some of whose visitors may come from COVID-19 hotspots.

And although some anticipate the return to 100% capacity will mean more sales, Hill worries it may have the opposite effect.

“One of the only reasons we’ve seen some customers come is because they know we’re masked, and their fellow customers are masked. So, I do think there could be a decline in some of our foot traffic as people make this adjustment.”

Hill also owns Barrow Brewing in Salado and will implement the same measures there.

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