Fort Worth businesses consider masks as delta variant spreads


Many Fort Worth businesses are pondering their COVID-19 protocols after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course on its masking recommendations this week.

On Tuesday, the CDC announced that it is recommending vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in areas with substantial or high transmission, weeks after the agency said that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear face masks.

This comes as the coronavirus’ delta variant surges across the country. This week, CDC reported that about 50{8a924211cc822977802140fcd9ee67aa8e3c0868cac8d22acbf0be98ed6534bd} of counties in the U.S. have a high level of virus transmission.

The agency said in a report Friday that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant could still spread the virus.

Tarrant County saw more than five times as many new cases last week compared to the low point of cases at the beginning of June.

But as the CDC changed its recommendations, local governments in Texas can do little to require masks, leaving the decision to businesses and individuals.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order Wednesday that makes it harder for local officials to require face coverings, saying that “the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates.”

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, changed its mask policy Friday to require all employees in high infection areas to wear masks.

“We continue to watch with deep concern the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants,” Donna Morris, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief people officer, said in the memo to employees. “We know vaccinations are our solution to drive change. We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated.”

Apple also changed its policy and will start requiring employees and customers to wear masks in high infection areas.

Many major retailers have not announced updated policies, but experts believe that could quickly change.

Some Fort Worth businesses and attractions are considering a mask policy change in light of the new CDC recommendations.

Martin House Brewing Company’s taproom said a mask policy has been discussed for the brewery, but no changes have been made.

Marty Travis, general manager at Billy Bob’s Texas, said the establishment supports people who do or don’t wear masks, but said it can be difficult to mandate, especially if there’s no way to track who is or isn’t vaccinated.

“We really don’t want to mandate it with no government backing,” he said.

Business mask policies

  • Walmart and Sam’s Club require all employees to wear masks in high infection areas. Customers are not required to wear masks.
  • McDonald’s requires all employees to wear masks. Customers are not required to wear masks. Its policy has remain unchanged since the CDC made its announcement Tuesday.
  • Apple requires all employees and customers to wear masks in high infection areas.
  • Target does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Starbucks requires all employees and customers to wear masks.
  • Chili’s Grill & Bar does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Outback Steakhouse does not require masks for customers. Masks are required for employees.
  • Red Lobster does not require masks for customers. Masks are required for employees.
  • Omni Fort Worth Hotel does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Kimbell Art Museum does not require vaccinated visitors to wear masks, but those who are not vaccinated are required to wear them.
  • Fort Worth Zoo does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Sprouts Farmers Market does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Billy Bob’s Texas does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Martin House Brewing Company does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Trinity College Irish Pub does not require employees or customers to wear masks.
  • Flying Saucer Draught Emporium does not require masks for customers. Masks are required for unvaccinated employees.
  • Heim Barbecue on the River does not require employees or customers to wear masks.

David Silva Ramirez is a general news multimedia reporter at the Star-Telegram. He was raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and is passionate about covering government, education, local communities and compelling features. You can reach out to David at [email protected] or on Twitter @ByDavidSilvaR.





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