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.
The pandemic has taken a toll on almost all aspects of life, including relationships. Couples have had to navigate these unprecedented times together for better or for worse. As reported earlier this week divorces in the Austin area are down, whether that be for logistical or financial reasons. So we asked our readers, "How has the pandemic affected your marriage or primary relationship?" The majority say, it's "stronger than ever."
About 87% of readers voted that their relationship is blossoming in the midst of the tough times. Responses from readers were very similar stating that all the time spent with their partners has created a better bond with them.
"We had a big fight at the end of the first month of lockdown that lead us to believe divorce was the only way. But the more the pandemic continues, the more we ponder our priorities. We have renewed our commitment to each other and to our children as a result."
About 11% of readers voted their relationship was "Iffy, but we'll make it" stating it's too much time with their partners that it's frustrating.
"Too much together time, not agreeing on how the kids should be spending their time."
Lastly, only one person voted "Heading into divorce court at our earliest opportunity," with no comment on it.
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