WACO, TX — Governor Greg Abbott has lifted the statewide mask mandate and in doing so gave businesses the option to choose whether or not they would require masks in their establishment.
This became a tough, complicated decision for many small businesses that need their locals to keep them afloat but also care for the health and safety of their customers and staff.
Robyn Panayoton is the owner of Glow Waxing Studio in Waco. She sent a letter to her clientele stating that if they come in for a service, they will need to be wearing a mask.
"I want to protect them [the customer] as much as I want to be protected," Panayoton said.
She was worried to send the letter at first, hoping her clients would understand that she is only thinking about their health and safety.
"There is always the risk that you offend someone, which I don't want to do." Panayoton said. "But in my business, that's the decision I had to make for the protection of everyone who comes here."
She says she hasn't had too many issues over the last year with clients not wanting to wear a mask. Moving forward, if customers refuse, she'll have to ask them to leave.
"That's a really uncomfortable place to have to tell somebody, because really you do want their business," Panayoton said.
Lula Janes Bakery in Waco is following suit. Owner Nancy Grayson will not only keep her mask rules, but she is also not opening to 100% capacity. Instead, Grayson will open her store to 75%.
"We're not at herd immunity and we need to wear masks," Grayson said.
Hearing the governor's speech on Tuesday made her question what will happen over the next few weeks.
"I think masks are safer, and I think we should be wearing them for now. We don't have this under control," Grayson said.
She says most customers that come to Lula Janes are very happy with the mask rule and will continue to wear their masks if she asks them to.
"I think that people appreciate that we care about our health and safety. If they feel strongly not to wear a mask, there are other restaurants to choose and we're okay with that," Grayson said.
So don't throw away that mask just yet as businesses like Glow Waxing Studio and Lula Janes Bakery are holding their ground. They hope customers understand the decisions they made and respect each business moving forward.
"I wish it were normal, but it's not normal and so I much prefer to air on the side of safety," Grayson said.
"I hope people will always consider others first," Panayoton said.