Young Texas couple wore masks for a night out—because their baby has a health condition. The restaurant told him: Take off the masks or leave.
Young parents Natalie Wester and Jose Lopez hadn’t been sitting long at Hang Time Sports Grill & Bar in Dallas suburb Rowlett, Texas, when a server asked them to remove their masks. Twenty-three-year-old Wester simply thought they were being carded. But when the couple settled in with masks back in place, that server returned, saying “this is political.” Wester and Lopez explained they were being cautious about Covid-19 precautions because their 4-month-old son has a weakened immune system due to cystic fibrosis. They were met with an ultimatum: Remove the masks, or take care of the tab and go with their jalapeno poppers. So the couple bounced—with their appetizer—and got their night out and a burger elsewhere. Hang Time owner Tom Blackmer stands behind the policy he implemented in April because, according to The Washington Post, “he doesn’t think masks stop [C]ovid-19 from spreading and criminals can use them to get away with a robbery, theft or vandalism in a place where his two adult children work.” And he wasn’t going to put them at risk. He’s received blowback for the policy and says that doxxing prompted him to abandon a new home before he even moved in; Wester also faced critics who went through her social media and found an image of her going maskless at an August concert.