Just two days before that, a group of essential workers gathered in front of the Texas State Capitol to protest the rollbacks. "We demand the right to a safe work environment. We demand to be seen. We demand to be heard," said Jeannette Gregor, Co-founder of Amplified Sound Coalition.
Emotions were high in front of the Capitol Monday afternoon.
"Terrified, frustrated, angry, and anxious," said Gregor.
Dozens of service workers gathered to protest the removal of the statewide mask mandate and capacity restrictions. Multiple groups also joined in including the Restaurant Organizing Project, Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, Austin Mutual Aid, and the Texas Amplified Sound Coalition to voice their concerns.
"What we're asking for is that we don't reopen to 100% by state mandate until 70% of essential workers are vaccinated," said Gregor.
This Wednesday, the Texas mask mandate will be lifted. Service workers say they are concerned about that because it leaves them to deal with the possible arguments and violence to come from customers who refuse to wear a mask even if their business still requires it.
"Try to explain to a drunk guy that he can't drink anymore versus telling a drunk guy to put on a mask that he thinks is his right to not wear. We need the backing of the government to say, hey, it's not just us, it's Texas saying you need to do it for your fellow Texans," said John Maverick, service industry worker.
Some of those fears came to reality at the rally when a group from the other side of the debate showed up and disrupted those speaking to show their favor for the removal of the mask mandate.
"This is what essential workers are dealing with every day. People who want to argue with us, who want to talk about their right to not wear a mask, their right to get other people sick, and to know that these guys here are backed up by our governor, who clearly hasn't given us any consideration or thoughts, is that much more frustrating and heartbreaking," said Gregor.
Organizers of the rally say the lifting of the mask mandate highlights why essential workers need to be vaccinated as soon as possible.