More than a month after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted nearly all of the state’s coronavirus safety restrictions, small business owners have had to balance the safety of their workforce with economic interests. Rattled by the pandemic’s affect on sales and concerned for their employees’ financial security, some small businesses struggled to continue requiring masks.

Many establishments in Austin are taking a piecemeal approach. Masks are now optional at Central Texas Gun Works. Larger event spaces, like Empire Control Room, continue to enforce strict capacity and mask wearing rules. And owners with close ties to their customers, like those at Rise Kickbox, say they trust their members are safe when they show up for a workout.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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