Jamba Juice, Whataburger among franchises on Drag that will not serve those wearing masks on Halloween

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Austinites celebrate Halloween on Sixth Street in 2014. Customers looking to get treated by some franchises on the Drag will not be served if they’re wearing a mask this Halloween.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Customers looking to get treated by some franchises on the Drag will not be served if they’re wearing a mask this Halloween. 

A few stores on the Drag, such as Whataburger and Jamba Juice, have signs on their doors telling customers to take off their masks before they come in if they would like to be served. Some places, such as Which Wich, Potbelly, and Moojo, do not require customers to take off their Halloween masks in-store.

A spokesperson from Whataburger said in a statement that the removal of masks before entering into their stores is a necessary precaution taken for safety reasons and is a measure the franchise has taken for several years.

“The safety of Whataburger family members and customers is paramount,” Whataburger said in their statement. “For more than 10 years, Whataburger has asked guests to remove Halloween masks. We find our customers are understanding and appreciative of this request.” 

Astronomy junior Jackson Bradford, who will be wearing a grim reaper costume with a skeleton mask on Halloween, said he understands the rules and will comply with a restaurant’s rules.

“I can see why they would not want to have people come in with masks because they want to be able to tell who they are for safety issues,” Bradford said. “If you’re going to go into a restaurant and you have a mask like this, then you can and should just probably take it off and just take it with you and it’s not really that big of a deal.”

Jamba Juice locations in Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi will also have a “no mask” policy which will be implemented due to security, said Tori Reyes, assistant general manager at the Jamba Juice on the Drag. Customers and employees will still be able to wear their Halloween costumes inside stores, just without the mask, Reyes said. 

“Someone who walks in with a mask will be asked to leave,” Reyes said. “It’s a family-oriented franchise, so we’re just trying to keep it as friendly as possible, especially though Saturday.”

Nursing sophomore Natalie Buongiorno, who plans to wear a mask with black feathers and a beak on Halloween, said she would take off her mask if she went into a store that had a “no mask” policy. Although Buongiorno said she thinks the rule is a good idea, she does not know if franchises like Whataburger will be able to enforce rules during busy hours.

“When you mix college students, masks and probably alcohol, a lot of bad things can happen,” Buongiorno said. “That place is already a nightmare at two in the morning on a regular Saturday. People are going to have a hard time comprehending the sign that says “no masks,” and I feel like even if an employee asked them to take it off they would still just put it right back on.”

Buongiorno said franchises that stay open late may have trouble maintaining order of a crowd of party goers, but students may not feel the need to wear their mask anyway.

“By the time you get done with your parties and you and your friends are at Whataburger, I feel like you’ll want to take your mask off by then,” Buongiorno said. “Masks get tiring to wear and if the party’s over, you may as well take it off.”