A sign posted outside the Liberty Tree Tavern in Elgin, 25 miles east of Austin, reads:
Due to our concern for our customers, if they FEEL (not think), that they need to wear a mask, they should stay home until they FEEL that it’s safe to be in public without one. Sorry, No Mask Allowed.
Kevin Smith, the bar’s co-owner, said the anti-mask rule was “a pushback against the wannabe snitch patrols and the contact tracers they’re gonna hire.”
“This is still rural Texas,” Smith told NBC affiliate KXAN in an interview that aired Tuesday.
One local resident described the ban as “a risk” and “foolish.”
Countered another: “I’m a stage 4 cancer survivor. I’ve been through a lot worse.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear cloth face coverings “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
Smith said the bar was adhering to Texas social distancing guidelines, like limiting capacity to 25% and making customers maintain a distance of six feet.
Check out the segment here:
Elgin, with a population of 10,000, had 52 confirmed coronavirus cases.
The nationwide death toll from the pandemic topped 100,000 on Thursday. The U.S. has had more than 1.7 million confirmed cases, the most in the world.
The issue of wearing masks has become increasingly politicized in recent weeks, although a HuffPost/YouGov poll suggests most people do not have a problem with it.
President Donald Trump’s refusal to follow the CDC guidance has, for some, turned the face mask into a culture war symbol. Trump mocked Joe Biden for wearing a face mask over Memorial Day weekend and belittled a reporter for wearing one at a White House news conference. Biden was following Delaware’s state rules.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
- 7 essential pieces of relationship advice for couples in quarantine
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- How to tell if you need to start doing online therapy
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
- Parenting during the coronavirus crisis?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
- Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.