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Harris County businesses enact new mask mandate

HOUSTON – Harris County’s new eight-day mask mandate went into effect Monday.

Customers across Harris County are now required to wear a mask in order to receive service at any business, per County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

“I need folks to really do their part on the masks order, businesses, every single member of this community needs to be thinking twice before they go to a bar, club,” Hidalgo said.

Business owners are required to enforce the judge’s order since customers aren’t being asked to police themselves. Establishments can face a $1,000 fine per violation if not in compliance.

Thomas Lau, who owns L3 Craft Coffee in Cypress, says his business is complying with the mask mandate, though it’s difficult being put in the middle.

“Putting the responsibility on the owner, as myself, it can be kind of challenging,” he said. “But we’re trying to do as best as we can to make things work.

Guests must wear masks to enter and to order food or beverages but can take them off while eating or drinking. Lau said so far his customers have been obeying the county’s order.

At Local Table, just down the street from Lau’s shop, the general manager said only one customer was denied service Monday when that person refused to mask up.

“Guests are very understanding. So are the team members here. We’ve had one or two instances where guests refused to put on a mask and we just do the best we can to make them happy,” said general manager Michael Miller.

The eatery is also providing free masks to anyone who doesn’t have one.

“When they move around the restaurant -- either to go to the restroom or other tables -- we ask that they buckle up and put their masks back on,” Miller added.

Business owners are working to serve their customers’ orders and the county’s too. The mask mandate expires on June 30.