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Dallas Couple Ask To Leave Restaurant For Wearing Face Masks

Dallas Couple
Dallas Couple asked to leave the restaurant. (Photo: CNN)

A Dallas-area couple claims they were asked to leave a restaurant last week because they violated the restaurant’s policy against wearing masks. 

Gabrie​la Bhaskar / The New York Times / REDUX

A couple asked to leave the restaurant for wearing facemasks. (Photo: The New York Times)

Natalie Wester claims she and her husband Jose were dining at the Hang Time grill in Rowlett, a Dallas suburb when their server approached them and asked them to remove their face masks. The couple, who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, say they were wary of going out in public because of their four-month-old immunocompromised child.

Wester stated that after about a half-hour, our waitress comes over, sits next to me, and says “The manager sent me over because I’m nicer than he is.” 

She stated that we were not allowed to wear masks in the building per the management. He did not believe they worked and did not want anyone in his business wearing them.

Wester Informed the Server About Their Son’s Condition

At this point, Wester informed the server that she and her husband wear masks to try minimizing COVID-19 exposure, in addition to seasonal illnesses like RSV and the flu. Wester’s son has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting the child’s lungs and digestive system. The condition makes it tougher to fight off infections, Wester explains. Following it, the couple paid their bill without making any scene. 

Freedom of Choice

Wester says the request shocked and confused her — especially in a state like Texas. She says that usually in Texas, people advocate for freedom of choice. 

As the story circulated on social media, so did reactions to the incident. Wester says the responses she’s received have been divided.

They receive negative comments stating that the story is blown out of proportion, that they are attention-seeking, or that they were in wrong. On the other hand, a numerous amount of folks have reached out in support of their decisions that night and how they have handled the media thus far.

She adds that other families with children affected by cystic fibrosis have reached out to her family — and has served as a reminder of why it’s important to share her experience.

Wester says while she’d been to the restaurant in the past she hadn’t been since the current ownership. No one from the Hang Time team has reached out to Wester, she says.

She says strongly feels that this ‘no mask’ rule was made with ill intent. The wife thinks that the owner has made the well-being of his staff and customers political and is requiring the policy in rebuttal to the previous mask mandate Texas had.

Do Face Masks Work? 

According to Texas law, while private businesses are within their rights to require masks, they’re also able to ban them. Requiring masks in governmental bodies — like city facilities and public schools — is banned, however, due to an executive order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot.

She says she’s gone public with her experience because she hopes other people who are concerned about COVID-19 exposure can avoid the restaurant.