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Texas diner adds $50 surcharge if forced to ‘explain’ why masks are required, $75 to hear complaints

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A Texas restaurant owner might be better served if he just hung a sign that read, “No Mask, No Service.”

Instead, Legends Diner in Denton opted to take a more contentious route to inform customers that they must wear a mask when frequenting the establishment or face a steep surcharge — tongue-in-cheek, we are to assume.

A handwritten sign on the door reads: “Our new surcharge. $50 if I have to explain why masks are mandatory. $75 if I have to hear why you disagree …”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted a statewide mask mandate earlier this month, declaring that “it’s now time to open Texas 100%,” but many businesses in the state still require masks.

Major restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Whataburger are among those still enforcing a mask mandate.

(Video: WFAA)

The Texas Restaurant Association did a recent survey asking restaurant owners and chefs how they would respond to the eased restrictions, and 73.1% of the members surveyed said they’d continue requiring staff to wear masks.

Legends diner owner Wayne LaCombe, 41, said of the intent behind the sign, “I just can’t afford to get the virus. We’d have to shut our business down.”

Afford meaning time away from the business, of course, as there is no charge for the COVID-19 vaccine. LaCombe and his wife, Kat, did tell the Dallas Morning News they planned to get vaccinated.

Kat posted on Facebook in response to a critic saying that he didn’t trust restaurant owners for medical advice to say she has “a Medical degree. 28 years as a Registered Nurse, specializing in Oncology.”

As for the sign, she said is was “a sort of joke.”

“All we ask is that customers wear a mask as they walk past another person that is eating and not wearing a mask,” Kat wrote. “Sure doesn’t seem like a lot to ask … but apparently it is. I, with my husband, try to protect and respect the people who come to our restaurant. The sign was a sort of joke. … It was aimed at the people who feel the need to try to argue (and of course they’re not wearing masks at the time).”

“No one wants this world to get back to normal more than small business owners,” she concluded.

Apparently, neither their stance or the sign has cost them at the cash register — the couple says a lot of customers laugh about it.

“We had a record day yesterday. About 500 came into our restaurant,” LaCombe told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m getting calls from all over the country. I got a call today from Virginia, saying ‘Thank you!’ We even got flowers. It’s awesome.”

The online reaction was mixed… here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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