Businesses' bid to enforce Covid safety rules stymied by Texas governor's decision to scrap mask mandate

NBC News

By Corky Siemaszko
Customers sit outside of Starbucks on March 3, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe / Getty Images

Working the door at a business in Texas that still requires masks against Covid-19 could be hazardous to your health — and not just because of the virus, top security experts said Thursday.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s sudden decision this week to lift the mask mandate and other coronavirus restrictions has undermined the ability of these companies to enforce their own rules for protecting staffers and customers, they said.

“This ripping off the Band-Aid approach is not good,” said Brian Higgins, a security consultant who also teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “It puts companies trying to enforce mask rules in a tight spot. They used to be able to tell customers they were just enforcing the state rules. Now they can’t say that.”

Then there are Texas’ gun laws, which allow licensed gun owners to bring their weapons along when they go shopping at most stores.

“I’m a Second Amendment guy, but I would not want to be that person working the door and having to tell somebody to mask up in a legal carry state like Texas,” said Higgins, a former police chief of Bergen County, New Jersey. “Yeah, things are supposed to be getting better but as we come out of this (pandemic), there are still a lot of people on edge, pissed off, angry.”

Just a few days ago, Higgins said, a police officer working security at a high school basketball game in New Orleans was shot and killed allegedly by a man he’d just escorted out for refusing to wear a mask.

Publish : 2021-03-05 15:33:00

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