When the mask mandate lifts on Wednesday, can business owners still require customers to wear a mask?

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that the statewide mask mandate will be lifted on Wednesday, March 10. 

Following the announcement, businesses in Central Texas started sharing if they would be requiring masks moving forward. 

RELATED: List: Businesses in Austin that are still requiring masks

“Business owners have the right to control their premises, which means they can establish whatever rules that they want with regard to who enters, excepting only the rules that would ban certain sexes or races or people of national origins, which would be illegal based on other laws,” said attorney Gary Britt. “They have the right to control who comes into their premises, such as many owners have signs that say ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service.’ They could have a sign that says ‘no mask, no service.’ It’s up to them whether they want to turn those customers away or not.”

Britt said if a customer goes into a business that requires a mask and refuses to wear one, the business can ask the customer to leave. 

RELATED: When the Texas mask mandate is lifted, where will masks still be required by federal order?

“If the customer refuses to leave, they then become a trespasser, and they could begin to escalate from there. ‘We want you to leave. We’ll call the police and have you escorted off the premises if you refuse to leave,'” Britt said. “They shouldn’t get physical with the person, of course, but they have the right to tell that person that, ‘Now you’re no longer going to be a customer. Now you’re a trespasser, and we want you off our property.'”

Britt also advised that business owners should carefully consider the odds of someone catching COVID-19 at their businesses when deciding whether or not to enforce wearing a mask. 

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