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As COVID-19 cases surge in Austin, local health officials have been urging all residents—vaccinated or not—to slow the virus' spread by masking up. We wanted to know how Austonia readers felt about the request.

Last week, we asked, "Do you think all businesses should ask patrons to wear a mask?" and the results of 444 responses show 73% voted yes.

"I think if we don't more or less go back to square one, even if it's just for a week or two, we're never gonna get this under control," one reader who voted yes replied.

The remaining 27% of respondents voted against the suggestion all businesses should ask patrons to mask up, but this group was split in their reasoning.

Of those who voted against, 15% said they felt they shouldn't be required to wear a mask because they are vaccinated. And 12% voted no because "masking should be a choice even for those unvaccinated."

When asked what businesses should do, many readers suggested business owners and employees encourage—or require—vaccinations. One reader suggested businesses could give discounts to those who wear masks, as an incentive.

"No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service," one reader wrote. Some readers suggested businesses eliminate indoor dining or pivot to take-out only or curbside pick-up options.

Businesses currently requiring masking are in the minority in Austin, including Waterloo Records and BookPeople. Under Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order, Texas cities cannot enforce local mandates, however, city officials are strongly encouraging business owners to heed their warnings of the contagious nature of the Delta COVID-19 variant and ask patrons to wear a mask.



Whether you became a home chef when the pandemic began or have always enjoyed crafting delicious meals, it’s undeniable that no home is complete without a cozy kitchen.

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(Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook Off/Facebook)

Sample some spirits
When: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Desert Door, 211 Darden Hill Rd. Driftwood
What: Attend Desert Door Distillery’s first Explorer Series of 2022. Guests will be able to sample Caliber on its own or in a delicious cocktail.

Eat some chili
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sagebrush, 5500 S. Congress Ave.
What: Enjoy great chili and great music at the 14th Annual Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook-Off. All proceeds will be donated to Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in memory of Nick Curran.

Enjoy some local art
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St.
What: The Neil-Cochran House Museum will host a multi-media art exhibition by Austin artist Nell Gottlieb, titled “Land as Persona: An Artist’s Journey.” Gottlieb works in multiple media to reexamine her coming of age, white and female in the Jim Crow South.

Catch some improv comedy
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: GameOn! ATX, 1515 Dungan Ln.
What: ColdTowne ThrowDowne is an improv comedy tournament between troupes that will take place in front of a live studio audience and streamed live to the world on Twitch.

Catch a Johnny Cash-style show
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Georgetown Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave.
What: Experience music history with a unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family set to the tune of the legendary Johnny Cash.