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Local business leaders weigh in on relaxed COVID-19 safety guidelines

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 6:11 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - With the statewide mask mandate officially repealed and the capacity of businesses allowed to go to 100%, local business owners are now solely responsible for creating safe environments for their customers. Local business leaders say our small business owners are ready for the challenge, including the President and CEO of the Bryan College Station Chamber of Commerce, Glen Brewer. He says despite spring break for students at Texas A&M on the horizon and St. Patrick’s day just a week away, our area is ready for this step.

“With the hospitalization numbers down, the overall [COVID-19] numbers down I mean, it’s something that we can deal with,” Brewer explains, “and it’s something our business community has got used to fighting. I think as long as we all try to work together, and we’ll get through this again like we did the other spikes.”

Still, other leaders, like Kenny Lawson who serves as a chair member for Operation Restart in Brazos County, aren’t as convinced. He says the organization is preaching cautious optimism. He says he believes this is the right move but hopes that a majority of business owners keep safeguards in place.

“The guidance is, you know, being able to urge the businesses to get ready for urging businesses to tread lightly,” Lawson says, “let’s walk before we run with all of this.”

Local business owners are excited about the move to open their capacity to 100%. But some are worried about keeping their business and staff safe without a mask mandate, like local restaurateur Tai Lee. Lee owns several restaurants across the B/CS area. He says he hopes guests at his restaurants will be considerate and mask up for the safety of other customers and his staff.

When it comes to masking up, he tells his customers “it is your call.” But adds, “if you respect what I do and you want me to thrive, I would suggest you wear a mask. Respect my choices on it just for the sake of our staff’s safety.”

Lee says he won’t dismiss any customer over a refusal to mask up and says he understands why people wouldn’t want to. But he says he’ll continue to fight for the safety and peace of mind for his staff and encourage his guests to mask up.

Watch the full interviews in the players above.

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