For 64 days, Kevin Smith had shut down the Liberty Tree Tavern to comply with government orders. Now he was cleaning and disinfecting and removing stools to cut seating by three-quarters as he prepared to reopen the bar.
Plexiglass screens had gone up at the supermarket checkout. His neighbors in Elgin, Tex., were still wearing masks outside, even after it was no longer mandated by the county. He did not think such a response was necessary, he said, and he wanted to push back.
"Sorry, no mask allowed," read the poster taped to the front door of his bar Friday. "Please bare with us thru the ridiculous fearful times."
As statewide coronavirus orders are easing, many stores and restaurants nationwide have taken the opposite route: They have made face coverings a requirement, kicking out those who fail to comply and even going to court to enforce their directives.