Community leaders, business owners react to face mask mandate ending

Small business owners across Texas find themselves struggling to decide what to do next. Here is what some grocery stores managers plan to do.

Video Transcript

- A whole lot of people are preparing for Texas' mask mandate to end on Wednesday. But a Washington Corridor bar, they are planning a "maskless" party which is causing a whole lot of controversy. ABC 13's Miya Shay joins us now to talk about how local officials are reacting to this. Miya?

MIYA SHAY: Well, you know, they're not reacting very kindly, because a lot of people are preparing for a maskless Texas starting Wednesday. Some people are really concerned. Some people are really happy.

Here along the Washington Corridor, Concrete Cowboy's gotten attention because-- I want to show you what they're planning. It's a "Mask Off Party." They started sending around a digital flyer a couple of days ago that's garnered a lot of attention.

Now, to be sure, a lot of bars have stayed open, restaurants have stayed open, some have mandated masks and some have been more loose with the rules, depending on how they feel personally. But it's rare to see something so bold, right? See a flyer to say, hey, not only no mask, but we're celebrating it. And that's why it's been so controversial, because even when you talk to different restaurant owners and operators, they have very differing opinions.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER: So these "mask off" parties are simply not wise-- not good, not healthy, not safe. So let me just encourage people to kind of slow down, be patient a little bit longer. Let's make sure we get the vaccines in people's arms before we open the gates and start acting as if everything is fine, when everything is not fine in, in our country, in our state or in our city right now.

MIYA SHAY: Mayor Sylvester Turner, other local elected officials, along with some public health physicians, experts in the field, will be holding a news conference this afternoon along the Washington Corridor, imploring people to be responsible, to not have mask off parties. They are realists. They realize that a lot of restaurants and bars have been operating under a variety of guidances-- and frankly, that's the reality in our community. But they certainly are not encouraging people to sort of flaunt it, or sort of make a scene about it. They want people to be reasonable, cautious, safe so they can slow the spread.