Last week when the Governor announced that it’s time for Texas to reopen, there were mixed reactions. As a Chamber, we have member businesses both large and small. They each have different protocols and concerns as it relates to preventing the spread of COVID.
There’s no doubt that most of our local small businesses, retailers and restaurants are excited about the ability to reopen to 100% after nearly a year of having to enforce capacity restrictions. Some of those may opt to keep capacities reduced, or to continue to require a face covering in their places of business. They have the right to do so. Governor Abbott has given businesses and entities the control and right to make decisions that are best for their businesses, employees and customers.
We are seeing that many larger entities such as schools, manufacturing and distribution facilities or medical facilities are opting to keep restrictions and social distancing measures in place for the time being. Employees and students will be required to continue to wear face coverings and adhere to the safety standards set previously.
The Governor did emphasize the importance of continuing to take personal responsibility over the coming months. The number of cases are declining and more and more Texans are getting vaccinated. Just because restrictions are lifted, doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. We should continue to do things to prevent the spread. Some things we all have become more accustomed to doing are simple, good practices that will help. Things like more frequent hand washing or sanitizing when washing isn’t possible; staying home if you aren’t feeling well; maintaining a safe social distance from those not in your family; using a face covering when gathering with groups indoors.
The great news is that the improvements in cases are great enough that the Governor has opted to put the control back at the business/entity level. As long as cases and hospitalizations don’t increase, we will continue to work toward getting back to normal (or the “new normal” as they say).
As an individual, you can make personal decisions as to whether or not to patronize local businesses based on their policies. If you feel more comfortable staying home, you can do that. If you feel better protected wearing a mask, it’s your choice to make. If you don’t like wearing face coverings, you can choose to shop or dine with establishments that don’t require them. We should all continue to follow and respect the policies set forth by business owners.These businesses want to stay open and each of them are doing what they feel is right for them.
In April, we will hold the 40th Annual Terrell Jubilee after having to cancel in 2020. This outdoor event draws thousands of people in a typical year. We hope this year is no different! There will not be a face mask requirement since it is an outdoor event, however if you feel safer wearing one, please do so. We will have handwashing and sanitizing stations throughout the park and will distance vendors as much as possible. The carnival vendor will also be taking precautions to sanitize rides throughout the event.
Regardless of your stance, be kind and respectful. You never know the circumstances an individual is facing or why they may feel differently than you about wearing a face mask. We all want things to improve so we can get back to doing things we enjoy.