Restaurant Employees Forbidden To Wear Face Masks At Work
As businesses across the country reopen, they’re faced with decisions about how to handle safety and customer service. While some decisions, such as high levels of sanitation, might seem to address both concerns, some consumers have expressed distaste with visible signs that corporations are taking the SARS-CoV2 virus seriously, especially where customers themselves are asked to make changes in behavior, such as picking up food instead of dining in, or wearing masks. In Texas, employees of one restaurant say they’ve actually been forbidden to wear face masks, because management thinks they don’t fit the appropriate hospitality appearance.
CBS reports that employees at a Hillstone Restaurant Group business say they’re not allowed to wear masks to work. Employees who said they would feel safer masked were removed from the schedule, and told they’d be ineligible for later rehire.
Ironically, diners who are uncomfortable with the decision are told, on the company’s website (archived copy of page here, as it appears on May 6, 2020) that they should come back another time.
Current orders do not require our staff or guests to wear face masks. If you are concerned about your safety in this respect, we hope you will join us at a later date.
Customers are responding to the decision. On social media, reviews and comments decry the decision as risky to patrons and employees.
“The employees said management also told her that face masks don't complement the restaurant group's style or level of hospitality”
Guess #hillstone hospitality treats their customers to Death?!
“Death served on a platter”
“Enjoy your side of COVID-19”
— Nyn Vasquez (@Burntsmurff) May 6, 2020
I admire almost everything about hillstone restaurants until now. I’m one of their biggest fans. I study all of their moves. Please don’t do this…dont compromise your employees safety https://t.co/R3SYkq2joL
— Dave Chang (@davidchang) May 6, 2020
There have been so many responses on Yelp that reviewing has been temporarily disabled.
Safety standards required by law are not consistent from state to state, and chains that operate in multiple states, such as Hillstone, are having to make decisions about how universally to implement measures that may not be required across state lines. However, state laws that do not require a given safety measure, such as a face mask, also typically do not require a business to forbid individual employees from taking those measures for personal safety and comfort.