‘Hold on, because it’s about to get messy again’: Business owners concerned about the state’s reopening, mask mandate reversal

Gov. Greg Abbott says business can reopen at 100% on March 10

SAN ANTONIO – Business owners in Bexar County are cautiously optimistic about the reopening of the entire state without restrictions or a mask mandate.

Jonny Yumol, the owner of Bar Du Mon Ami, managed to save his bar by shifting his business plan. He says he has mixed feelings about the state reopening again at 100% capacity with no restrictions and says it’s not a reality.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, as far as this virus is concerned. I have the right to say, ‘I’m OK because I have the vaccine,’” Yumol said. “But how many millions of Texans still don’t have it? And that’s not fair to them.”

He says the hard part will be going back, because he suspects the sudden all-or-nothing reopening will bring bad days ahead.

“You know, we’ve struggled so much this whole last 12 months -- you know, bars and restaurants,” Yumol said. “And still getting blamed for everything. Hold on, because it’s going to happen again. We’re going to get blamed for everything again.”

Jody Bailey Newman, the owner of the Friendly Spot, says her conversation with other business owners has been one of caution. She said her staff is already on edge about going back to work and struggling with customers who don’t want to comply with the rules.

Bailey Newman suspects her business will keep many safety protocols in place.

“It was very difficult on our staff. We found a lot of people in San Antonio who were very cooperative with the masks. But the percentage that wasn’t, it was very difficult on the staff and led to confrontations and stress and anxiety,” Bailey Newman said. “And so, my hope is that we don’t go back to that.”

Masks will not be required, but businesses have the right to require customers to wear them.

Bailey Newman says they’ll have to straddle a line between profit and safety, and after a year of struggling, that’s the last battle they want to fight.

“We have the right to refuse service to anyone. For us to survive, we have to be able to serve people,” Bailey Newman said.

Tim Ingram, the owner of Heavy Metal Fitness Gym, says he’s grateful he made it through a tough year, but he doesn’t take his health and that of his family and staff lightly as he decides on how to proceed.

“There’s freedom as well. We definitely have more options as far as hosting events, seminars, competitions, and we’re not as worried about the city coming by, giving us some sort of ticket or restriction,” Ingram said. “So, there’s definitely an element of freedom and fear at the same time.”

Ingram says it’s important that businesses use caution. He urges people to continue to support local establishments.

Related: ‘It is now time to open Texas 100%’: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reverses statewide pandemic orders

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.