1. Various exteriors of Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen Restaurant
2. Front entrance of deli
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ziggy Gruber, Owner, Kenny & Ziggy's:
"It was wonderful to hear, you know, that he is going to let us open up 100%."
4. Various of customers in deli
5. Gruber pointing to dishes
6. Activity in restaurant
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ziggy Gruber, Owner, Kenny & Ziggy's:
"I'm a little bit nervous about, as they mentioned, that the total taking off, the total masks, I have a portion of my customers that love what we're doing over here. We have all of our tables spread apart at a certain distance, which makes them feel comfortable. And everyone likes the idea that we require people to wear masks."
8. Patrons at table
9. Waiter brings order to table
10. Wide of restaurant from back
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ziggy Gruber, Owner, Kenny & Ziggy's:
"So we take everything with a pinch of salt. Who knows what's going to happen, but where we're just we're just going through. But it looks like we are in a positive direction."
Texas is lifting its mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, making it the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 42,000 Texans.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has faced sustained criticism from his party over the statewide mask mandate, which was imposed eight months ago, as well as other restrictions on businesses that Texas will also scuttle next week. The mask order was only ever lightly enforced, even during the worst outbreaks of the pandemic.
The state is removing limits on the number of diners or customers allowed inside businesses, Abbott said during a news conference at a restaurant in Lubbock. He said the new rules would take effect March 10, unleashing a wave of alarm from big city mayors and leaders along the U.S.-Mexico border, where the virus has been especially rampant.
Ziggy Gruber, who has operated Kenny and Ziggy's Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston for more than 20 years, said the announcement gives him reason for optimism, but he's not going to change safety precautions taken inside his business just yet.
"I'm a little bit nervous about, as they mentioned, that the total taking off, the total masks," Gruber said. "I have a portion of my customers that love what we're doing over here."
Gruber's restaurant abides by the restrictions that Harris County sets. He added they'll continue to in the short term.
"We have all of our tables spread apart at a certain distance, which makes them (customers) feel comfortable," Gruber said. "And everyone likes the idea that we require people to wear masks."
Federal health officials this week urgently warned states to not let their guard down, warning that the pandemic is far from over.
Still, governors across the U.S. are easing coronavirus restrictions. Like the rest of the country, Texas has seen the number of cases and deaths plunge. Hospitalizations are at the lowest levels since October, and the seven-day rolling average of positive tests has dropped to about 7,600 cases, down from more than 10,000 in mid-February.
Only California and New York have reported more COVID-19 deaths than Texas.
Texas is doing away with the restrictions just ahead of the spring break holiday, which health experts worry could lead to more spread as people travel.