HOUSTON - A handful of local and state leaders held a press conference Sunday to urge a Houston bar to cancel their promoted "mask off" party.
On Instagram, Concrete Cowboy along Washington Avenue, posted a flyer promoting their "mask off" party for this coming Wednesday.
"This is unquestionably a super spreader event that will literally kickoff the 4th surge of COVID in our Houston area," said Texas State Representative Ann Johnson.
Johnson and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed their frustration with upcoming changes to COVID-19 rules. Per Texas Governor Greg Abbott, starting Wednesday all COVID-19 regulations will end including a statewide mask mandate.
"This order does not help businesses," said Mayor Turner. "It will cause chaos, conflict, and confusion."
Concrete Cowboy’s "mask off" party is scheduled for the same day COVID-19 restrictions end in Texas. We asked Mayor Turner what he would tell the business owners.
"I would say not to do it," said Turner. "Don’t treat the virus as if the virus doesn’t exist."
We asked several customers outside a nearby bar how they feel about the "mask off" party.
"I don’t agree that [they] promote it as mask-less," said Daniel Maldonado. "Then again, you know what you’re getting into."
"They should allow it to happen, and for people to have their own opinion, on wearing a mask or not," said Mary Jane.
We have reached out to the owner of Concrete Cowboy several times since Friday, as of Sunday evening we hadn’t heard back.
"The reality is, it’s a public health crisis," said Turner. "It’s a global public health crisis. It’s a pandemic. You can’t ignore the science, the data."