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Restaurant, bar workers to rally for  'essential' status and mask mandate at Texas Capitol

Food and bar workers, among others, will rally outside of the Texas Capitol at 1 p.m. on Monday in protest of Gov. Greg Abbott's reversal of the mask mandate.

The groups will also argue their right to be labeled as essential workers and qualify for vaccinations in the rally, which is organized by the Amplified Sound Coalition and Austin's chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

On Wednesday, March 3, Abbott said in a statewide press conference that he would lift his executive mask mandate order and would "open Texas 100%," including business capacity. The reversal goes into effect Wednesday.

In response, many Austin businesses have said that they will continue to require masks in their businesses, and shared frustrations about the danger the new order puts on the community. Abbott said that lifting restrictions does not take away from "personal responsibility" but that "state mandates are no longer needed."

Amplified Sound Coalition member Jeannette Gregor told KXAN that rally members want the state to keep the mask mandate until 70% of restaurant or bar workers are vaccinated. Currently, service industry workers do not qualify for the vaccine; only first responders, healthcare workers, those 65 and older and those with an underlying issue that puts them at risk to the virus qualify.


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