Legends Diner in Denton, Texas is not playing when it comes to their no mask, no service policy. They have taken things a step further with a no mask surcharge.
In Denton, Texas, the owners of Legends Diner want to make sure their customers know that masks are mandatory in their establishment. Therefore, on Monday, after several weeks of dealing with anti-maskers, they finally put up a sign to make their stance on the matter clear. The owners claimed that their new surcharge would be a $50 fee for every time they have to explain why a mask was mandatory in their restaurant. Additionally, the owners plan to charge $75 if they have to hear why an anti-masker disagrees with the policy. Ever since the sign was first posted on the internet, it has gone viral, CNN reports.
Wayne and Kat LaCombe put up a warning sign on the door of Legends Diner -- just days after Texas lifted its mandatory mask mandate.— CNN (@CNN) March 20, 2021
"$50 - If I have to explain why masks are mandatory"
"$75 - If I have to hear why you disagree..." https://t.co/PN4sbGr4RJ
The sign specifically reads, "Our new surcharge: $50 if I have to explain why masks are mandatory. $75 if I have to hear why you disagree..." The sign has been described as "tongue-in-cheek," but the husband and wife duo who owns the restaurant simply wanted to keep their employees as well as their customers safe. Wayne LaCombe explained in an interview that he got the idea when he saw a similar sign online. "I thought, 'Oh, that's funny. I'm gonna put that up because it does send a message,'" he told CNN. "And not five minutes after I put it up customers coming in were laughing and taking pictures of it."
Legends Diner posted a tongue-in-cheek $50 surcharge if the owner has to explain why masks are mandatory. There’s also a $75 surcharge if he has to listen to why you disagree.— WFAA (@wfaa) March 19, 2021
To top off the sign's messaging, one of the servers at Legends Diner, an art student, decided to paint a woman wearing a mask on the front window. The woman is accompanied by a caption: "Masks required. It's respectful, not political." While the restaurant owners have done what is in their capacity to take added precautions during the pandemic, such as spacing their tables out, cutting down on capacity, and ensuring their employees wear masks and wash their hands frequently, they request customers to wear masks as additional protection against the virus. Legends Diner also screens customers' temperatures before they are seated and provides hand sanitizers at every table for customers to utilize.
So far, the majority of the response to their sign has been positive. Customers and even some neighboring businesses have congratulated the restaurant owners for making a statement. However, there has been some "grumbling" on the internet. Kat LaCombe, a retired oncology nurse with 28 years of experience in the field, took to Facebook to field some of the nasty comments they have received so far. "All we ask is that customers wear a mask as they walk past another person that is eating and not wearing a mask," she wrote online. "Sure doesn't seem like a lot to ask... But apparently it is." The LaCombes have received their first dose of the vaccine and are awaiting their second, but many of their staffers are yet to receive their first shot.
According to Wayne LaCombe, two customers came in recently and told him it was the first time they had gone out for a meal in a restaurant since the pandemic first began. He stated, "We feel very honored and privileged that they have chosen us." The husband-wife duo opened their restaurant in October 2019 but had to, unfortunately, shut down for two-and-a-half months owing to the public health crisis. They are unsure if they would be able to survive if they had to close down again. "We have a race that we have not finished, and when the numbers go up our business goes down," he shared. "So yes, it's very urgent that we keep the numbers down." This is particularly true as Texas Governor Greg Abbott loosened pandemic restrictions, effective March 10. He relinquished the mandatory mask rule and allowed all businesses to reopen at 100 percent capacity. Many believe that the decision was taken too soon, given the low vaccination rates in the state. Nonetheless, Governor Abbott made the move as the number of active cases and hospitalizations were down to levels not seen in months.