H-E-B will require workers to wear masks, can only ask customers to do the same

Despite Gov. Abbott’s announcement, the policy will stay in place until more Texans are vaccinated

Ruth Flavelle wears a mask and gloves as she enters an H-E-B grocery after waiting in line with more than 150 people Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Spring, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Though Texas’ mask mandate will soon be lifted, H-E-B will urge its customers to continue wearing masks until more Texans are vaccinated.

On Tuesday, Abbott announced a reversal to the mask mandate and will allow businesses to operate at full capacity again starting March 10, citing improved COVID-19 metrics and increasing vaccination numbers.

But Texas lags behind most of the United States on vaccination percentage numbers. As of Wednesday, roughly 13 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, ranking 48th in the country.

Until those numbers improve, H-E-B will require workers to continue wearing their masks and asked customers to help keep them safe by wearing their masks too.

“Although there is no longer a statewide mask order, H-E-B believes it is important that masks be worn in public spaces until more Texans and our Partners have access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” a spokesperson said. “As an essential service provider during the pandemic, H-E-B is focused on the health and safety of our Partners and customers. H-E-B will still require all our Partners and vendors to wear masks while at work, and we urge all customers to please wear a mask when in our stores.”

Abbott said he is ending the state mandates because “Texas is in a far better position now” than the state was when pandemic restrictions were first put in place last year.

The governor also said Texans now know how to prevent the spread of the virus, making the state mandates unnecessary.

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