Vaccinated Couple Thrown Out of Texas Bar for Wearing Masks, Violating Policy

A Texas couple with an immunocompromised child was asked to leave a bar for wearing face masks, violating the establishment's "no masks allowed" policy.

Natalie Wester and her husband met friends at the bar, Hang Time, in Rowlett, Texas, a city outside of Dallas. They are fully vaccinated, but they choose to wear face masks when they go out to protect their 4-month-old son who has cystic fibrosis, Wester said in an interview with Newsweek.

When they got to the restaurant, the hostess asked them to remove their masks to check their IDs, which they did. Wester thought it would be the end of the issue, she said.

But about 30 minutes later, after the group had already ordered food and drinks, a waitress asked them to remove the masks, acknowledging the policy is "political," she said.

"Our waitress came over, sat down next to me and said, 'Our manager sent me over here because he is not as nice as I am, and this is a political thing, but you need to take your masks off,'" she said.

Wester explained to the waitress that her child's doctor advised them to wear masks while in public, but the waitress could only offer to close the tab, so the group paid and went home.

She described the situation as frustrating and said she has never been in an establishment where there is no option to wear a mask.

"It makes absolutely no sense," she said.

The owner of Hang Time, Tom, defended the policy to KTVT, a local television news station, saying the bar is a private business and that he has the right to refuse service to people wearing a mask.

"I have spent my money on the business, my blood sweat and tears in this business, and I don't want masks in here," he told the news station. "I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now."

He said that when the couple put on their mask and were reminded to take it off, they did not want to and were asked to leave. He said he was unaware that their son was immunocompromised, but that he will continue to enforce the rule.

There are no signs indicating the policy, but a hostess tells everyone wearing a mask to take it off at the door, KTVT reported.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, businesses banning masks has been uncommon, though it does happen. For instance, a campsite in Wisconsin banned masks in May 2020, citing a safety risk. Some businesses, including a taxi company in Missouri, have also banned customers who have been vaccinated against the virus or people wearing masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people—including those who are vaccinated—to wear masks indoors in areas of substantial or high risk of transmission to protect themselves and others from the highly-transmissible Delta variant.

Newsweek reached out to Hang Time for comment Monday morning but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Face Mask
A Texas family was asked to leave a bar for wearing face masks. Here, a man is seen wearing a a mask featuring the image of Texas in March 2021. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images