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Mask or no mask? | Southeast Texas business owners facing tough decisions amid pandemic

For people looking for some guidance, Southeast Texas Dr. Ray Callas said something everyone should do is mask up.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Amid this latest surge, the Texas governor stripped local government's abilities to introduce restrictions for businesses.

Now, it's up to each owner to enforce their own COVID-19 rules.

Two Southeast Texas businesses said they both have two different game plans. Doctors said it's time for a reality check.

 “I think restaurants and stores should be taken care of first and foremost, asking everyone to do what's appropriate,” Dr. Ray Callas said.

Dr. Callas said without an official mask mandate order, businesses are faced with a tough decision.

“We’re just talking about last week that the numbers are going high unfortunately up again with COVID,” Twisted Gypsy's owner Evy Knight said.

Those numbers prompted Knight to send a message.

“Right now, we are going to put the sign-up,” Knight said.

When Gov. Greg Abbott ended the mask mandate order in March, it took Knight a while to adjust.

“We actually kept our sign up for a couple of months afterward,” Knight said. “And again, now that we're seeing the numbers jumping up especially, you know, here in Texas. We don't feel comfortable again.”

That's not the case for every business here in Southeast Texas. At Bruno’s Italian Kitchen, there's no sign or message.

“We are letting people have a choice. I will not. As of right now, we will not reinforce the mask,” said Bruno’s Italian Kitchen owner Zamira Gjyrqi.

Although masks aren't a requirement, the restaurant owner said they're still being cautious.

“We're still doing all what we can you know like sanitizing and keeping everything clean, and we're following the guidelines to keep everybody safe,” Gjyrqi said.

For people looking for some guidance, Dr. Callas said something everyone should do is mask up.

“You're within six feet and you haven't been vaccinated,” Dr. Callas continued. “I don't care if it's a mandate or not, I’m just telling you as a local physician and a leader in Texas medicine, you should be wearing a mask.”

Dr. Callas also said wearing a mask, even if you are vaccinated, can decrease the chances of you getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others.

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