New parents wearing masks get kicked out of Texas restaurant
Category: News & PoliticsVia: dig • 8 months ago • 134 comments
By: Melissa Koenig
A couple were kicked out of a Texas restaurant last week after they refused to take off the masks, which they say they were wearing to protect their newborn immunocompromised baby back home.
Natalie Wester and her husband, Jose, went to Hang Time, a restaurant and bar in the northern Dallas suburb of Rowlett with a few friends on September 11, when they say staff members told them they could not wear their masks indoors.
Wester said she tried to explain how her son is immunocompromised, when a waitress told them that if they had a problem with the policy they could leave - which they did.
Now, the owner of the bar and grill is defending his no-mask policy, calling mask-wearing an 'overall reaction' and saying he will continue to enforce the policy in an interview with CBS DFW.
Wester said she and Jose went to the restaurant last Saturday to meet up with a few friends - a rare outing for the couple since their son, Austin, was born four months ago.
'If you've ever been new parents, having those couple of hours out like once or twice a month is so important for your mental health,' she told the local CBS affiliate.
But when she got there, she posted on Facebook, the hostess asked her and her husband to take their masks off.
'The music was loud, so I just assumed she wanted to see our faces for our IDs,' Wester wrote. 'She again said something about taking the mask off, [but] because I couldn't hear her very well, I brushed it off.'
Wester and her husband then sat down at a table, ordered some drinks and an appetizer, she said, but about half an hour later, her waitress sits down next to her, saying 'Our manager told me to come over here because I am nicer than he is - but this is political, and I need you to take your masks off.'
'She said that the mask "doesn't work, is like using a chain-link fence to keep out mosquitoes and doesn't give people enough oxygen,"' Wester recounted in her post.
The mom said that when Austin was born they found out he had cystic fibrosis - a genetic disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs.
'Cystic fibrosis is a very life threatening disorder,' Wester continued, 'and if my son were to contract COVID, he would need to be hospitalized.'
So, she said, 'when my husband and I are out, which is not often, we choose to wear a mask.'
'I informed my waitress of this information,' she said, 'and she told me she could close my check for me if it was an issue.
'Fine,' Wester said. 'My husband and I left without a scene.'
Now, though, the owner, only identified by CBS as 'Tom,' is defending his no-mask policy, telling CBS DFW his restaurant is a private business and he has every right to refuse service to a customer.
'I have spent my money on the business, my blood, sweat and tears in this business, and I don't want masks in here,' he said, adding: 'I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now.'
His restaurant does not have any signs warning customers about the policy, CBS DFW reports, so the hostess tells everyone to take their masks off when they enter.
'So when they put their masks on the other night, they were reminded that at the front to take it off,' he said of Wester and her husband. 'They didn't want to, and so we asked them to leave.'
Tom said he was unaware they had an immunocompromised baby, but he strongly believes people cannot wear masks in his business - a rule he said he will continue to enforce.