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texas-restaurant-association-mask-guidelines.jpg SERGIO FLORES / Contributor / AFP
The Texas Restaurant Association updated its guidelines for mask wearing ahead of Gov. Greg Abbott’s lifting of the statewide mandate on Wednesday. It will will impact establishments statewide, including this bar in Austin, Texas.

Texas Restaurant Association updates COVID-19 mask guidelines

Gov. Greg Abbott orders lifting of statewide face-covering mandate on Wednesday

The Texas Restaurant Association this week updated its guidelines on mask wearing for both employees and customers in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to lift face-covering mandates and capacity limits statewide.

“In keeping with the public health guidance and best practices,” the association said Thursday, “our updated Texas Restaurant Promise includes a face-covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table.”

The association originally launched the Texas Restaurant Promise in April 2020 to help state officials drafting protocols for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbott on Tuesday, at an announcement at Montelongo's Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock, Texas, issued an order, effective March 10, lifting all pandemic capacity restrictions on businesses and facilities and getting rid of the state’s mask mandate.

The move came despite warnings to states from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against rolling back restrictions too quickly and risking further spread of the highly infectious COVID-19.

The TRA, in issuing its updated guidelines, said it wanted to help restaurants “prepare to continue providing a safe and welcoming dining experience when Texas’ COVID-19 protocols are lifted.”

The association noted that its Texas Restaurant Promise had centered around operators, employees and customers playing a role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is especially important heading into the next phase of Texas’ reopening,” the association said.

“We remain committed to incorporating lessons learned into everything we do to protect our communities,” it said

The updated Texas Restaurant Promise maintains such safety protocols as regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations and employee and customer health screenings.

“This strikes the right balance between protecting employees and guests and acknowledging that restaurant employees are not law enforcement officers and should not be placed in a difficult or potentially dangerous situation if a customer refuses to comply with a protocol,” the group said.

“Unfortunately, we have seen far too many instances of these difficult interactions over the past year, which is why we continue to call upon every Texan to show respect and patience to any worker who is simply trying to do their job in spite of very challenging circumstances,” the TRA said.

The Texas Restaurant Association, formed in 1937, advocates for the foodservice industry and serves as a resource for operators in the state, which has more than 50,000 locations and employees an estimated 1.3 million workers.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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