A young couple who wanted to wear their masks inside a restaurant were kicked out by the owner, despite them explaining that they have an immunocompromised son whose doctors suggested they wear the protective gear.
Natalie Wester and her husband Jose Lopez-Guerrero, took their seats in the Hang Time diner 20 miles outside Dallas, Texas, earlier in September.
The couple have been vaccinated but wanted to protect their four-month-old son who hasn’t been jabbed and suffers from cystic fibrosis, and so they chose to wear masks before a server came over and requested they remove them.
“Our waitress came over, sat down next to me and said ‘our manager told me to come over because I am nicer than he is … but this is political and I need you to take your masks off,'" Natalie told local TV station CBS DFW.
When they said they wanted to keep their masks on, they were shown the door.
Wester had initially thought that when were asked to remove their masks she believed it was so the staff could check their IDs but it is a decree from the owner, Tom Blackmer, who claims mask wearing is “ridiculous”.
The young mother told Today that she explained the situation with her son, who was being babysat at home by her mother.
"So we explained to the waitress about our son … And she really didn't even give us an option," Wester said. "She said, 'Well, if this is something that's going to be an issue, then I'm just going to close your check.'"
The couple "didn't want to make a scene" so they went elsewhere while their friends stayed on at the establishment in Rowlett, Texas.
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Wester later posted about it on Facebook and it went viral. She told Today that the owner's attitude to Covid contributes to its spread.
"I in no way intended to slander his business or be rude and aggressive … But I wanted to explain my frustrations, because I do feel like this kind of mentality that the owner has has contributed to the really high numbers of COVID in Texas," Wester said. "I was just very frustrated, so I made a post."
The owner defended his position whilst speaking to local TV station CBS DFW. “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 said.
“I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now.”
Blackmer added in a chat with KWTX that he wasn't aware that the couple's son was immunocompromised, but he will continue with his no mask decree regardless.
The CDC advises against indoor dining since masks cannot be worn while eating. Worldometer says that the US has experienced over 43 million Covid cases and almost 700,00 deaths from the disease.
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