Saturday marks one month since Texas fully reopened with no capacity or mask mandates for businesses unless they chose to keep them.
Over the past month, businesses like Funkytown Donuts have experienced an uptick in sales, according to owner Brandon Morris. While weekdays remain relatively slow, Morris said their Sundance Square location has been a little busier on weekends.
“We’ve seen a lot of people coming just because things have been lifted. Especially on weekends, a lot more visitors coming in and coming around,” he said. “Also, there are still some people who are wary and kind of not wanting to come in. That’s why we offer online ordering to help those people.”
Their store encourages masks, though they not technically required. Morris said they offer a 5% discount for people who wear one.
“We want to encourage people to do the right thing. We feel like we should be wearing masks until we really get through this, but by offering the 5% discount, it’s kind of just an encouragement. We’ll take a little bit of hit so you can help keep us safe, keep you safe,” he explained.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the state had an average of 2,163 new cases of COVID-19 and 74 deaths each day over the past seven days. The state noted testing and case reporting may have been affected by the Easter holiday weekend. As of Wednesday, there were 2,868 hospitalizations. All three factors are showing a downward trend, according to the state.
In Tarrant County, the level of virus spread in the community reduced from ‘substantial’ to ‘moderate’ for the first time in several months. Dr. Diana Cervantes, director of the MPH Epidemiology Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, pointed to the increase of vaccinated residents as one reason why the county and state are experiencing downward trends.
As of this week, 21% of Tarrant County residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. About 12% are fully vaccinated.
“I think the combination too of the weather, people are able to get out a little bit instead of being inside. So, that reduces that transmission,” Dr. Cervantes said. “I think people in general, even with the mask mandate being removed, they’re still being very careful. So, it’s a combination of factors. I think we’re getting to a point where we’re never going to see this level where we don’t have any cases of the virus, but we’re definitely coming down to a good base line.”
At The Usual in Fort Worth, managing partner Jason Pollard said they continue to approach all operating decisions with caution. The craft cocktail bar reopened in September under a restaurant license and though mandates have lifted, Pollard said they have kept their capacity limit at 50%. Masks are still required for patrons unless they sitting at a table.
Business has steadily increased over the past few months, Pollard said.
“It’s hard to say that it’s directly connected to that announcement. It was already trending that way anyway,” he said. “Those first couple weeks after the announcement, you could tell the business for sure.”
Looking ahead, Pollard said they hope business continues to increase.
“This bar in particular is a bit more of a ‘cold weather’ bar, but I think with everyone having been home so much over the past year that everyone just wants to get back out,” he said.