A bar in Texas has refused to admit customers respecting health and safety measures by wearing masks.
The Liberty Tree Tavern's anti-mask policy is a reprisal towards "snitch patrols"—a term coined for masked individuals publicly shaming others without masks—and the Elgin establishment is getting slammed on social media for it.
The sign posted out front ridiculing potential patrons protecting themselves and others by wearing masks, reads:
"Due to our concern for our customers, if they FEEL (not think), that they need to wear a mask, they should stay home until they FEEL that it's safe to be in public without one."
"Sorry, No Mask Allowed."
@RawStory Texas ? say no more 🙄— Patrikios (@Patrikios)1590690382.0
Kevin Smith—who owns Liberty Tree Tavern—told KXAN in an interview that he is adhering to social distancing guidelines so the masks aren't necessary.
"It is more of a push back—the snitches, and the contact tracers out there."
"This is still a rural county."
You can watch the video of the news report below.
Elgin bar owner bans customers from wearing masks inside youtu.be
Smith also posted an article of the story on the establishment's Facebook page and further explained:
"Just trying to break this cycle of fear and virtue signaling."
"The CDC, Surgeon General, and even Fauci say, these mask do nothing and can even cause more harm."
"The county mandate has been lifted, the sun is shining, let's get back to living our lives without fear!"
@RawStory Why do people always have to virtue signal that they don't like virtue signaling.— Sheroniak (@Sheroniak)1590692189.0
@RawStory Look at this guy. It’s like he has a death wish. Why are so many of the people opposed to wearing a mask… https://t.co/wtw3Si8qif— Kate (@Kate)1590690546.0
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all people wear face coverings "in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain."
Cloth face coverings can help stop the spread of the virus and may prevent those who have the virus and don't know it—people who are asymptomatic—from transmitting the pathogen to others.
Charles Chamberlain, a loyal customer of the Liberty Tree Tavern—which had been shut down during the pandemic—is eager to return to the establishment and is unfazed by the sign.
Chamberlain said of the owner's message:
"I'm a stage 4 cancer survivor. It's just a choice."
"He just put that up there to let people know if they aren't feeling good, then they maybe shouldn't come."
"Everybody is keeping safe distances, they aren't bunching up."
Sherrill Schier is one of a handful of business owners along Main Street who does not require customers to wear masks, although he does have some to offer for those who want one.
The owner of ETX Travel does not wear masks and is confident about the local population's health status.
"I don't know anyone personally, and I know a lot of people, that's gotten the virus or has died."
"People are just comfortable. We are a small town, we don't have a lot of crowds. We are okay."
Elgin has a population of 10,000 and has a reported number of 52 confirmed cases.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Orders on May 18 and May 26 to announce the second phase to reopen the state, expanding on the businesses and activities that were included in the first phase.
The newly reopened businesses are subject to the minimum standard recommended health protocols as outlined by the Texas Department of State and Health Services (DSHS).
The Huffington Post mentioned that wearing masks has become politicized in recent weeks.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to abide by CDC guidance and removed his face mask for factory tours because he "didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."
Trump associated face coverings with fragility when he mocked presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing a face mask over Memorial Day weekend.