Texas has announced a loosening of its statewide mask mandate and capacity restrictions for businesses as of March 10, but not all restaurants agree with the change. The beloved San Antonio-based chain Whataburger announced it will continue to ask customers to wear face masks at its locations. For employees, the masks will remain mandatory.
Moreover, the burger-slinger isn't rushing to reopen its dining rooms to full capacity. Instead of the newly allowed full occupancy, the chain will keep dine-in operations at 50% capacity. (Related: McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)
"The health and safety of our customers and employees has always been our top priority. We're aware there will no longer be a statewide mask mandate or capacity limit in Texas as of March 10, however, Whataburger will not be making any changes to our current safety protocols or social distancing practices," the chain said in a statement.
Whataburger isn't the only business that plans on keeping its pandemic-era restrictions intact a while longer. According to CNN Business, several grocery chains, pharmacies, and retailers, including Target, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, Best Buy, Macy's, and JCPenney, say they will continue to require mask-wearing at their stores and facilities by both employees and customers.
Besides Texas, Mississippi is similarly lifting the two restrictions, and some experts worry the moves are premature.
"I am extremely concerned about the citizens in Texas and Mississippi given Governor Abbott and Governor Reeves' abrupt withdrawal of mask mandates and reopening venues at full capacity," Dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Health System, told Fox News.
For more, check out which grocery chains in Texas are abandoning their mask mandates. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.