The mask mandate is now a standoff of sorts between city and county leaders and Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton threatened to sue Austin and Travis County if local mask mandates were not rescinded.
Meantime, local businesses are trying to do their best with mask policies in the absence of a state rule.
It's masks on at Garbo A Salon near burnet and West Anderson Lane in north Austin. “We do require masks when you enter and that's our rule,” said salon owner Marsha Power. She says her customers voted overwhelmingly to keep the restrictions in place. “I did survey out guests and 86 percent of them wanted to continue the mask,” she said.
This comes one week after Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement. “I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” he said last week to applause.
But at Garbo A Salon -- where the employees come into close contact with every client every day -- few people think it’s safe yet to go without masks. “The vaccines seem to be a real issue. The younger part of our team, not, very few of them have been vaccinated at all,” Power said.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, which oversees businesses like salons, says that while masks are not required -- they are strongly encouraged. It also says that businesses are within their rights to require people to wear masks on their premises.
Power says about 30 percent of salons closed permanently in the last year, but her business is doing ok for now.
That’s one more reason to keep the masks on and the virus out. “The stylists are good. We've kept the masks, we're still doing temperature checks,” she said. “I don't think my team wants to work without the mask. We're too close to people.”