May 7, 2020

Employees of national restaurant group say company is refusing to let them wear masks

Employees at restaurants run by a national group said the company is forbidding them from wearing masks at some locations in Texas that are reopening as the state allows for limited dine-in service. 

Hillstone Restaurant Group, which operates four of its 45 national locations in the Dallas area under different brand names, is not allowing staff to wear any form of personal protective equipment (PPE), according to multiple reports. 

The policy was first reported in People Newspapers

The kitchen manager at Hillstone’s R+D Kitchen located in Dallas told People Newspapers the restaurant is not allowing masks. The manager told the newspaper: “We stand behind our decision.” 

Two employees of the Park Cities restaurant location told The Dallas Morning News that those who chose not to work under the current conditions were told they would not be scheduled for further shifts. 

But by not being terminated, the employees would be prevented from being able to file unemployment claims, the Morning News notes. 

One employee told the Morning News that it is “disappointing that an organization that employs so many people and that serves even more people in the Dallas community would disregard the recommendations of health officials and government.”

Hillstone declined to comment when contacted by the Morning News. 

In a “welcome back” message to Texas customers on its website, Hillstone said that masks are not required to be worn by guests or staff members. 

“If you are concerned about your well being with respect to masks not being worn by staff or by other guests, we hope you will join us at a later date,” the notice adds. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) permitted restaurants to reopen for dine-in service starting last Friday at a limited 25% occupancy. 

Abbott’s order “encouraged” individuals to “wear appropriate face coverings,” but did not include any requirements about protective face coverings.

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