A Houston bar called the Concrete Cowboy is planning to hold a “Mask Off Party” the day that the mask mandate ends in Texas, and officials are furiously calling for it to be canceled for allegedly being a super spreader event.
Officials at the state, city, and neighborhood levels are demanding that the party be nixed. It’s scheduled for March 10, the day the statewide mask mandate ends as well as the capacity limits on businesses are lifted.
The Concrete Cowboy advertised the “Mask Off Party” on Instagram with virtual flyers. By Monday evening, the advertisement was taken down. But it is unclear if the event is still taking place. The bar can reportedly pack in 400 people.
State Representative Ann Johnson went to the press on Sunday, calling the bar’s planned party “a slap in the face” to Houston’s citizens and frontline workers. But many in Texas don’t view it that way, evidently.
(Video Credit: KHOU 11)
“We are here to condemn the event on Wednesday night by [Concrete Cowboy], which is just a few blocks away,” proclaimed Rep. Johnson. “They are planning to hold a large ‘Mask Off’ party, where for hours indoors, drinking, dancing, shouting at one another, they will incur the additional risk that we see through this COVID-19 pandemic and the varieties are here and the variants that are widespread throughout our city.”
She dramatically called the bar’s plan “dangerous” and then went on to lambaste the nightclub for allegedly putting their clientele and the city at risk. In a blatant dig at the bar, she accused them of holding the event in exchange for selling “overpriced cocktail[s].”
“This is unquestionably a superspreader event that will literally kick off the fourth surge of COVID in our Houston area,” she declared.
Johnson was joined by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who added his two cents by saying he was “just as concerned.” Apparently also fearing the fourth surge of COVID-19 in Houston, Turner begged the establishment to cancel the event. He blamed Governor Greg Abbott for past spikes in coronavirus cases for easing restrictions.
“The governor eased the restrictions, and the numbers started going back up,” Turner stated. “With all due respect, there’s nothing wrong with stepping back and reversing, and imposing the mask mandate again.” He alleged there are at least five variants of the coronavirus in the Houston area.
“What I’m hearing more and more of is that promoters across the country are saying that because Texas is fully opened — because they can’t hold their events in their respective cities, in their states — they are bringing their events to Texas,” Turner lamented. “And that poses a serious risk.”
Full news release with information on why I joined with health care professionals, neighborhood leaders and elected officials to say we do not support this or any “mask off” party. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/S8069VV4Nq
— Houston Mayor's Office (@houmayor) March 8, 2021
“Celebrating the reckless, if not negligent rollback of COVID-19 prevention measures, is like pouring salt in a gaping wound for healthcare workers in this city, in this county, and in this great state,” Dr. Christina Propst, who is a pediatrician with Children’s Memorial Hermann, emphatically stated.
However, others such as Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough loudly applauded the governor’s decision to end the restrictions.
When Governor Abbott decided to end the mask mandate and capacity limits on March 10, his actions were referred to as “Neanderthal thinking” by President Biden. “The last thing — the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters,” Biden admonished in a moment reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables’ misstep.
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