Elgin bar owner bans customers from wearing masks inside

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ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — No entrance with a mask.

A local tavern in Elgin has banned its customers from coming in covered up. 

The statement posted outside the tavern reads, “Due to our concern for our citizens, if they feel the need to wear a mask, then they should probably stay home until it’s safe.”

“I think that’s a risk. I think that’s foolish,” said Elgin local, Ross Owens. “They’re taking chances they don’t need to take, especially if they’re in public service.”

According to a 2018 census, the City of Elgin has a little over 10,000 residents. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the city has reported that 52 of those residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

On Elgin’s Main Street is where we find a popular tavern banning masks.

“It is more of a push back — the snitches, and the contact tracers out there,” said Kevin Smith, Co-Owner of the Liberty Tree Tavern. “This is still a rural county.”

Kevin Smith says he’s still following social distancing guidelines as set in place by the Center for Disease Control.

Since the Liberty Tree Tavern shut down, Charles Chamberlain has been eagerly waiting for it to open back up. He says he’s not fazed by the tavern’s posting.

“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,” said Charles Chamberlain. “Everybody is keeping safe distances, they aren’t bunching up.”

Along Main Street you’ll find other businesses requiring masks, while others are asking you wear them at your own discretion. 

“I don’t know anyone personally, and I know a lot of people, that’s gotten the virus or has died,” said Sherrill Schier, owner of ETX Travel in Elgin.

Sherrill Schier is not a mask wearer, but does have them on-hand for her customers.

“People are just comfortable. We are a small town, we don’t have a lot of crowds. We are okay,” said Schier.

Any bars that reopen are supposed to keep in-person service at 25% occupancy, but there are no outdoor occupancy limits at any bars that do have a patio area.

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