Hillstone Restaurant Group is re-opening its restaurants in Texas. Many people are already worried that it is too soon to re-open, and over 1,,000 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Texas just today. According to the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer, Hillstone Restaurant Group is not providing PPE for its employees and has also told staff that if they do not feel able to work without wearing a mask, they cannot return to their jobs. This puts employees in a terrible situation. They will not be able to work, but can't get unemployment pay either.
I travel for business and have enjoyed many of Hillstone's restaurants across the country, including in my hometown and in Atlanta, DC, and LA. It is relatively expensive, but worth it because of consistently good food and service. I am extremely disappointed and angry that Hillstone is so flagrantly disregarding the health and safety of its employees and customers.
I believe this is a matter for OSHA. However, I also feel that we, the public, need to stand up for restaurant workers and for our own health (I have an autoimmune disease so even at 40 I am especially vulnerable). It is clear that this pandemic will not be over quickly, so consumers will have to set the standard for how we expect to be treated and what we think is the decent way to treat employees. Obviously customers can't wear a mask while eating and drinking, so waiters should.