Couple BOOTED from a restaurant date to WEAR face masks
An American said she and her husband were told to leave a Texas restaurant because they wore masks in an effort to protect their four-month-old son, who has cystic fibrosis.
Natalie Wester told TODAY Food that she and her husband, Jose Lopez-Guerrero, went out with friends a few weeks ago and wore face masks as a “preventative measure” while waiting for the food to arrive.
Their son was not with them; he was looked after by his mother.
Wester said the outing was a rare date night for her and her husband as they are new parents.
They went to the Hang Time Bar & Grill in Rowlett, TX with a few friends.
Upon entering the restaurant, Wester and her husband were asked to remove their masks and Wester figured it was so staff could check their IDs.
“She mentioned something about taking our masks off and taking them off, and I just assumed it was because she was telling us about our IDs, it was related to that,” said Wester, noting that there was a band playing live music that made it hard to hear.
âSo we took off the masks for that, put them back on and went to our table. “
Wester said that a few minutes later, after ordering drinks and an appetizer, another member of staff approached their table.
âOur waitress came down and sat down next to me and she said, ‘You know our manager sent me here because I’m nicer than him about the situation, but he thinks it is. is very political. He doesn’t like the mask. You’re going to have to take the mask off if you want to be here, âWester recalls.
“My husband and I had never heard anything like it before, even in Texas.”
âSo we explained to the waitress about our sonâ¦ and she didn’t even really give us an option,â Wester continued.
She said, ‘Well, if that’s something that’s going to be a problem, then I’m just going to close your check. “”
Wester said she and her husband “didn’t want to make a scene” or ruin her friends’ night out.
The other couple, who weren’t wearing masks, stayed at the bar, but Wester and her husband left.
Shortly after returning home, Wester wrote an article about his experience and shared it on a local Facebook page as a reviewer of the facility.
She later shared the post on her own Facebook page, where it went viral.
“I had no intention of slandering his business or being rude and aggressive … But I wanted to explain my frustrations, because I feel that this kind of mentality that the owner has contributed to the number very high COVID in Texas, âsays Wester.
“I was just very frustrated so I made a post.”
During much of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts have warned against eating indoors because masks cannot be worn while eating.
Although it is considered a safe activity for those who have been vaccinated, experts say unvaccinated people in the United States should avoid dining out at this time, and people in areas with high transmission should remain cautious.
Precautions such as increasing ventilation or masking when you are not eating can make indoor meals safer.
Bar owner Thomas Blackmer did not respond to TODAY’s multiple requests for comment.
He admitted in a Facebook comment that he does not allow masks inside his bar. Blackmer has also shared anti-vaccine and anti-mask content on social media.
In an interview with KTVT, a local television station, Blackmer said he did not “want any masks” in the facility, in which he had put his “money” and “blood, sweat and tears.”
While there is no sign indicating Blackmer’s policy in the restaurant, KTVT reported that the establishment’s host is asking customers to remove their masks at the door.
âI think the overall reaction with the masks is ridiculous in the United States right now,â Blackmer told KTVT.
âSo when they put on their masks the other night, we reminded them that they had been asked up front to take them off. They didn’t want to, so we asked them to leave.
Blackmer told the Washington post he faced a wave of backlash, including sharing his address online, which caused him to move, and vitriolic so intense that he temporarily closed the restaurant’s Facebook page.
On his own Facebook page, Blackmer said he was facing calls and threats.
But he does not regret having enforced the ban, he told the To post.
Wester said that although she and her husband learned that their wearing of masks was seen as political, they believe it was Blackmer’s response that was politically motivated.
âI know a lot of people here in Texas have a problem with wearing masks, but being told we can’t be in a facility because we want to put on our masks, we couldn’t believe what we were hearing, ” she said.
Wester said that since the post went viral, she and her husband have been overwhelmed by the public response.
Some people reached out for their support, while others criticized her and her husband, pointing out that they were already engaging in activities that could put their son at risk by eating inside.
However, Wester said TODAY that their family’s doctors have encouraged normal life, just with a few extra precautions.
âThey just advised us to be a little more careful when we go out, use our brains and make whatever decisions we feel are appropriate, and that’s why we left,â Wester said.
“They didn’t tell us to stay away (specific activities).”
Wester said the positive response so far has outweighed the negative comment.
âA lot of people who have children with CF have contacted us, a lot of mothers and fathers have been very supportive and told us that they support us and understand how difficult it can be to have one. child with special needs. and trying to manage your relationship and your social life and the well-being of your child, âWester said.
“We definitely have supporters, which has been a great relief from the tons of hate we have received.”