Restaurant, grocery workers fear safety without mask mandate

The daily routine at restaurants and bars has involved masking up and wiping down. Now, they're afraid of what's going to happen next.

Video Transcript

- For more than a year now, the daily routine at Sonoma Wine Bar involves masks and lots of disinfectant, but with a statewide mask mandate going away next week, owner Farrah Colly is worried about her employees health.

- It is scary, because you have some guests that believe in it and don't believe in it, and you don't want to get into a compromising situation.

- She says restaurant workers should be a vaccine priority.

- It needs to be the people that are working in restaurants, that have been working in restaurants since this has happened, needs to be prioritized to getting vaccinated. I think our guests would also feel much more comfortable knowing that the ones that are first-hand taking care of guests repeatedly are vaccinated.

- But they are not, and neither are grocery store workers.

- I really wish the government would prioritize the grocery workers, because people do need to eat. You know, if we weren't there, no one would have groceries.

- So just who is eligible? 1A, health care workers and nursing home residents have been eligible since the beginning. Also eligible are 1B, seniors and people with chronic conditions. And within the last 24 hours, both federal and state officials have made school and child care workers eligible. No other professions are on the priority list.

And Houston Health Department's Director Stephen Williams, who is also on the governor's expert vaccine panel, says that's unlikely to change.

STEPHEN WILLIAMS: We haven't had a meeting since the government's announcement yesterday. I'm sure that's going to come up in the discussion on Monday, but basically our strategy has been to focus on those individuals who would have more severe consequences if they got COVID.

- So restaurants that could open at 100% capacity by next week, vaccines for now remain elusive.

- There should be like a mobile vaccine just going and hitting all the restaurants.