Houston bar cancels 'mask-off' party, Mayor Turner says

This weekend, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city of Houston surpassed 2,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Video Transcript

SYLVESTER TURNER: In two days, Texas will lift the requirement to wear masks and reopen businesses 100%. I want to thank the Houston-area restaurants and businesses that are planning a responsible transition and making health and safety for their customers, employees, and the general public a priority. Many of those businesses are going to continue requiring people to wear masks and keep their current occupancy rate or require social distancing. Employees and visitors will be required to continue wearing a mask in a city-owned facility.

There's been a lot of conversation over, and I say, businesses planning these mask off parties. But I want I want to provide some good news. And I received an email today from the owner and operator of Concrete Cowboy. And I want to read the email that he sent to me.

He said, "Mayor Turner, first and foremost, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read this email. Mayor Turner, it was never our intention to host a party where we encourage patrons to not wear a mask. I am a business owner of multiple venues in the Washington corridor, and public safety is our top concern. And we will always place health and safety ahead of profits.

That being said, we are not only canceling the party, but we will also not open Concrete Cowboy Wednesday night to prevent any exposure to COVID-19. I do want to reassure you that all four of my businesses on Washington Avenue will also continue to follow that same policy of safety first. I hope that in the future we can work together. You know you can trust me to always put the public first and to work together with you and your office. Thank you for your time, Dan Wierck, owner and operator."

And let me thank Dan and Concrete Cowboy for recognizing the importance of what we're trying to do. And look, we want businesses to open. We want businesses to thrive in our city. And quite frankly, I do believe that two months from now the landscape will be much better than what it is today. I do believe that it's too early now to just take off the masks. It's one thing for the businesses to be all the way open, but I do want people to encourage people to wear their mask. I want businesses to encourage people to wear their mask, their customers, their patrons. And I want to thank Concrete Cowboy for the steps that they are taking that I believe is in the best interests of the health and safety Houstonians.

And I want to thank all of the owners. I know, look, 12 months-- these last 12 months have been hard. They've been hard on our medical professionals, our essential workers, our businesses, small, medium, and large, on homeowners, families, our children. It's been hard. But I do see a glimmer of hope. I do see the end of this tunnel. I think many of us can see the end of this tunnel.

That's why the two individuals are standing with me today, Director Williams of our Public Health Department and Dr. Pearse, are here as we try to do everything we can to ramp up getting these shots in people's arms. So again, let me thank Concrete Cowboy for taking the initiative, stepping up, and canceling that mask off party.