SURVEY: More than 70% of Texas restaurants still requiring employees to wear masks despite statewide mandate lift

According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations, and employee and customer health screenings. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations, and employee and customer health screenings. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations, and employee and customer health screenings. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The majority of Texas restaurant owners will choose to continue requiring staff to wear face masks after March 10 when Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide mask mandate lifts, according to the results of an informal survey conducted by the Texas Restaurant Association in early March.

The TRA is a membership-based business association that provides advocacy, operations support and training, among other benefits, to its members who work in the food industry across 23 local chapters statewide.

According to the survey results obtained by Community Impact Newspaper on March 8, 73.1% of the 725 TRA members who responded to the question "Will you continue to require your staff to wear masks and face coverings after March 10?" answered yes, while 16.97% answered no and 9.93% said they were unsure.

Similarly, when asked if they would continue to require customers to wear masks and face coverings after March 10, 37.69% of the 711 respondents answered yes, while 43.46% answered no and 18.85% said they were unsure.

The survey results follow updated guidance from the TRA, which the organization released March 4 in anticipation of the mask mandate lifting and businesses being able to open at 100% capacity beginning March 10.


The updated guidance, known as "The Texas Restaurant Promise," was initially created at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020 based on feedback and guidance from industry leaders, health experts and research. According to the TRA website, the document serves as a social contract between restaurant owners, their staff and guests, and was most recently updated by TRA officials March 4 to reflect changes that would take effect March 10.

According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like 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 release reads. "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."
By Hannah Zedaker

Editor, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Hannah joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor of the Spring/Klein edition and later became the editor of both the Spring/Klein and Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood editions in June 2021. Hannah covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Hannah served as associate editor of The Houstonian, interned with Community Impact Newspaper and spent time writing for the Sam Houston State University College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and The Huntsville Item.