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H-E-B Will Still Require Employees To Mask Up And 'Urges' Customers To Do The Same

An H-E-B employee lets shoppers into the store as others leave.
David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

Many San Antonio area businesses are expected to take full advantage of loosened coronavirus restrictions — including opening up to 100% capacity — following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement Tuesday. However some businesses will still require employees to remain masked, while urging customers to do the same.

H-E-B officials released the following statement concerning future operations at its stores across Texas:

"Although there is no longer a statewide mask order, H-E-B believes it is important that masks be worn in public spaces until more Texans and our Partners have access to the Covid-19 vaccine. As an essential service provider during the pandemic, H-E-B is focused on the health and safety of our Partners and customers. H-E-B will still require all our Partners and vendors to wear masks while at work, and we urge all customers to please wear a mask when in our stores."

Maggie Thompson is executive director of the San Antonio River Walk Association and represents many of the 150 hotels, bars, restaurants and retailers on the famous water way.

"They have taken great steps to protect guests at hotels and restaurants and attractions. And this new standard of safety shows the commitment to the well-being of all River Walk visitors. We definitely encourage everyone who visits to continue to follow and commit to all the COVID safety protocols," she said.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he thinks the governor's decision to end the mandates is premature.

“They’re put in a very vulnerable situation not only for their businesses but for all their employees and everybody else that’s walking around,” he said.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg calls the governor’s decision a huge mistake adding, "You don’t cut off your parachute just as you’ve slowed your descent."

President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Richard Perez said the organization approves of the rollbacks.

"We applaud Governor Abbott for giving businesses the flexibility to make the decisions they feel are necessary to keep their employees, clients and customers safe and their businesses flourishing. We have seen improving COVID-19 numbers in the San Antonio region, and we are confident that our business community will continue to do everything possible to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all," Perez said in a statement.

"With the availability of vaccines increasing, we are certain that Texas will be well positioned to be the economic powerhouse we have always been."

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules