It has been nearly a month since Gov. Greg Abbott decided to lift the statewide mask mandate and allow businesses to open to 100% capacity after about a year of closures because of COVID-19.
Even with those changes, most customers at restaurants are choosing to continue wearing masks even if they don’t have to.
Jim Januszka, the owner of Village Pizza and Bite the Bagel in Killeen, said he has had that experience since no longer requiring masks be worn by his customers.
“All employees are still wearing masks and customers have the option, but over 90% of our customers are still wearing their mask,” Januszka said.
Ever since the announcement by Abbott, Januszka has opened to 100% capacity and is not requiring masks, but he said there has not been a significant increase in business over the last month.
“Not a significant increase and really the last six or seven months have been a steady increase but it’s definitely been a better increase than the beginning of the year,” he said.
Hensan Timo, the owner of C&H Hawaiian Grill in Killeen, has not changed his policy even though Abbott did.
He is still limiting capacity and asking customers to wear their mask in the restaurant.
“Not much has changed. We have seen a significant increase in business this month but no resistance from customers even though we are not changing,” Timo said.
Timo added that it may be a combination of people feeling more comfortable going out and the $1,400 stimulus checks that has encouraged more people to go out.
The general manager of The Catch, Toni Medina, said the restaurant is not requiring masks and has opened to 100% capacity.
“When we opened up and took the mask signs down, people continued to wear masks on their own,” Medina said. “I think it was the comfort of people making their own choice.”
She continued talking about why there has been an influx in business over the last month.
“The stimulus checks came around the same time we opened up, which was helpful. It seemed like customers were enjoying their time better because they weren’t feeling restricted,” Medina said. “They’re more comfortable to come in without those restrictions — if they are spending money and being told how to move and where to sit. If people are spending their money that they work hard for, they want to do so in the comfort they choose.”
She also said, like Januszka, that around 90% of their customers are still choosing to wear their masks.