FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas businesses are grappling with the changes Gov. Greg Abbott made to current COVID-19 restrictions.

Many are celebrating, while others are concerned about how to keep their customers and employees safe.

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“It’s been a year, I think that’s enough,” said Joanna Perez, a regular at Cat City Grill in Fort Worth. “People can make their own decisions.”

She supports the governor’s decision to end the statewide mask order and open businesses back up to 100% capacity.

Cat City Grill has been able to stay afloat this past year, but the Texas Restaurant Association says 11,000 restaurants across the state have closed for good since March 2020.

Cat City Grill in Fort Worth (Caroline Vandergriff – CBS 11)

“We had to downsize,” said Martin Thompson, owner of Cat City Grill. “We’re running pretty much a skeleton crew right now.”

Thompson is excited to finally be able to fill every table, but he isn’t sure if the demand is there yet.

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Masks are another issue.

“We’re put into a conundrum here in the restaurant industry as a business because a lot of people still want people to wear them, a lot of people don’t want to wear them,” he said.

Cat City Grill in Fort Worth (Caroline Vandergriff – CBS 11)

Many businesses still aren’t sure exactly how they plan to operate under the changes, since they now choose whether to make employees and customers wear masks or to limit capacity.

“Today is not a day to throw out all those protocols and to go back to life on March 1,” said Emily Williams Knight, the president of the Texas Restaurant Association. “Each of these restaurants needs to be really thoughtful and have a discussion with their employees and their guests about interacting as they move forward.”

Thompson plans to have all his employees wear masks, but he won’t make his customers.

He knows other restaurants will still enforce mask policies for their patrons.

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“Just to rip them off and go back to old times, I don’t think is going to happen,” Thompson said. “I don’t think we’re ready for that yet. I just ask the public for patience and understanding.”

Caroline Vandergriff