Face masks aren’t welcome in this Texas business. In the emergent culture war over masks, a handful of businesses – the Liberty Tree Tavern among them – are fashioning themselves as fortresses for the resistance.
For 64 days, Kevin Smith had shut down the Liberty Tree Tavern to comply with government orders. Now he was cleaning and disinfecting and removing stools to cut seating by three-quarters as he prepared to reopen the bar.
Plexiglass screens had gone up at the supermarket checkout. His neighbors in Elgin, Texas, were still wearing masks outside, even after it was no longer mandated by the county. He did not think such a response was necessary, he said, and he wanted to push back.
“Sorry, no mask allowed,” read the poster taped to the front door of his bar Friday. “Please bear with us thru the ridiculous fearful times.”
As statewide coronavirus orders are easing, many stores and restaurants nationwide have taken the opposite route: They have made face coverings a requirement, kicking out those who fail to comply and even going to court to enforce their directives.
“If we’re only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity, I want them to be 25 percent of people that aren’t p—–, that aren’t sheep,” Smith told The Washington Post. “Being scared all the time isn’t good for your health. It suppresses your immune system.”
At one Kentucky gas station, no one is allowed inside the adjacent convenience store if they are wearing a mask. Near Los Angeles, a flooring store encourages hugs and handshakes while prohibiting face coverings. The owner of a campground in rural Wisconsin vowed to treat clients sporting them inside facilities as she would “a robbery in progress.”