A restaurant worker was stabbed by a man who refused to wear a mask, the latest customer-employee confrontation since Texas lifted its mask mandate

Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box restaurant.

  • A customer stabbed a restaurant worker multiple times after being asked to wear a mask.
  • The League City Police Department issued an arrest warrant for the man.
  • Many people have refused to wear masks at stores and restaurants since the mandate was lifted in Texas.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A restaurant manager was stabbed multiple times by a customer who refused to wear a mask on Wednesday at a Jack in the Box restaurant just outside of Houston.

The League City Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for the man.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the mask mandate would no longer be in place as of March 10. His decision came just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against reopening states too soon. Businesses can set their own mask and social-distancing requirements and many companies have said they will continue to require customers and employees to wear masks, even though it is no longer required by the state.

Since the mask mandate was lifted, there have been multiple reports of customers refusing to adhere to store policies. As a result, many frontline workers are forced to impose corporate rules without the support of the state government.

The League City Police Chief Gary Ratliff said in a press release that the manager was admitted to the hospital and has since been released.

“All I would ask is that people respect the opinions and the policies of these businesses,” Ratliff said. “You can refuse to do business at those locations, or whatever it is you choose to do, but there’s no reason to resort to aggressive behavior like this.”

Leading up to the altercation at the Jack in the Box restaurant, the man was told he had to wear a mask in order to enter the restaurant or could use the drive-thru without a mask. The maskless man filmed the incident and accused the restaurant manager of not wanting to serve him because he was homeless.

Moments later, the man stabbed the manager multiple times in the torso after the worker turned away, according to Ratliff. The police department has since identified the man.

Last week, a woman was arrested in Galveston for refusing to wear a mask.

In March, workers at the Houston-based Mexican restaurant, Picos, said diners threatened to report them to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for requiring people at the diner to wear masks.

After Abbott’s announcement, a maskless Trader Joe’s customer accused the grocer of violating state laws by asking him to wear a mask in the store.

Multiple Texas officials have called Abbott to account for what they said was an “irresponsible action” and what President Joe Biden deemed a “big mistake.”

The state still has over 2.75 million cases and over 47,000 reported deaths, according to The New York Times.

Texas workers are now faced with the same difficulties presented at the beginning of the pandemic when people protested and boycotted stores for requiring masks and social distancing.

Many encounters early on during the pandemic led to instances of violence, where workers were shot or assaulted for asking customers to adhere to store policies by wearing a mask.

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