Couple with Immunocompromised Infant Say Texas Restaurant Wouldn't Let Them Wear Masks

The owner of Hang Time in Rowlett, Texas, said he feels “the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now”

no mask restaurant Dallas
Natalie Wester and Jose Lopez. Photo: CBS DFW

A Texas couple say they were asked to leave a local restaurant because they chose to wear their masks.

Natalie Wester and her husband, Jose Lopez, have an immunocompromised four-month-old son, and decided to go for a rare night out with friends last week, she told CBS 11 in Dallas.

"If you've ever been new parents, having those couple of hours out like once or twice a month is so important for your mental health," Wester said.

The husband and wife are both fully vaccinated, but when they go out "we choose to wear a mask" to protect their son Austin, who has cystic fibrosis, Wester explained in a Facebook post.

"Cystic fibrosis is a very life-threatening genetic disorder, and if my son were to contract COVID he would need to be hospitalized," she said.

Wester said that when they entered Hang Time, a bar and restaurant in Rowlett, a woman up front asked them to take off their masks, but the new mom assumed it was just to see their faces as she checked their IDs. The couple met up with their friends and ordered food and drinks, Wester said, and kept their masks on.

"About half an hour passes and our waitress comes, sits down next to me, and says, 'Our manager sent me over because I'm nicer than he is. And yes, this is political.' She then told me that masks are not allowed in their building, and they can make the rules because they are private business. She said that the mask 'doesn't work, is like using a chain-link fence to keep out mosquitoes, and doesn't give people enough oxygen,' " Wester claimed in her Facebook post.

The mom said she informed the waitress that they are wearing the masks to protect their immunocompromised son, and the waitress said she could close out their check, which the couple agreed to before leaving the restaurant.

PEOPLE has contacted Hang Time Restaurant for comment.

Speaking with CBS 11, Tom, the owner of Hang Time, said that masks are not allowed in his restaurant.

"I have spent my money on the business, my blood sweat and tears in this business, and I don't want masks in here," he said, explaining that he doesn't keep a sign about the policy on the door, and instead has the hostess telling people to take them off.

"So when they put their masks on the other night, they were reminded that at the front to take it off. They didn't want to, and so we asked them to leave," he said.

Tom said that he believes as a private business they have the right to not serve people who wear masks, which he thinks do not work.

"I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now," he said.

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Wester said on Facebook that she wanted to share their experience at Hang Time "in case anybody who was actually wise enough to be afraid of COVID could avoid this place."

"I am so shocked at the level of ignorance in our country, and scared to think how much worse the pandemic will get knowing so many folks think this way," she said.

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