LUBBOCK, Texas — Local business leaders shared their thoughts about the governor’s order to end mask wear and increase business capacity to 100 percent.
Chris Berry, President of the Lubbock Restaurant Association and managing partner at River Smith’s Chicken and Catfish, said the news came as a pleasant surprise after challenges restaurants have encountered.
“I was excited for the entire industry, for the community, for the state of Texas, ” said Berry. “When I heard [the news,] my first thinking was thinking, the steak houses and the fine dinings that weren’t able to operate hardly at all.”
Berry said they are meeting the new executive order with optimism and caution. He said that they encourage restaurant owners to follow The Texas Restaurant Promise, a COVID-19 health and safety policy for restaurants across the Lone star state published by the Texas Restaurant Association.
“[Our] front of house will continue to wear masks,” said Berry. “We are still going to continue the sanitization just like we have been doing all along.”
Eddie McBride, President of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, said they are encouraging businesses to follow the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Rally for Recovery, which focuses on protecting communities and aiming to reignite the economy.
McBride said the topic of mask wear can be divisive at times but encourages businesses and patrons to focus on keeping people safe.
“I think a really unifying approach is that all businesses consider protecting their employees, protecting their customers and obviously following the safety protocols that allow them to continue doing business,” said McBride.
Mcbride said some changes might not be instant and that some businesses will require gradual change.
“It’s going to be difficult because they don’t have the staff, especially some restaurants and some retail where they have still have been operating at a limited capacity, “said McBride. “They might not be able to immediately hire back amount of staff that’s needed to get back to their 100 percent operations.”
Mcbride said he encourages people to support businesses and to be patient with changes and continuing processes being made.
“Just remember businesses need to protect their employees, as well as their employees, so don’t hold it against somebody for asking you to wear a mask,” said McBride.