Editor’s note: Some interviews have been translated from Spanish to English.
However, some businesses —like hair salons— are hands-on with their customers and continue to require customers to wear a mask.
“We still have to take care of ourselves, the virus is still here,” said Anna Rosales, co-owner of Jenavy Hair Salon in Harlingen.
The CDC said that businesses can still deny service to customers if they are not abiding by their mask policies.
“We have a sign that says if you’re not wearing a mask then we won’t provide service,” said Anna Rosales, co-owner of Jenavy Hair Salon in Harlingen.
Others, like the Faith Pleases God Church in Harlingen, said that people have a choice in their facility.
“No, it’s not a requirement,” said Kevin Ortiz, Pastor of Faith Pleases God Church. “We want everyone to worship freely …[in] the best way they feel if they like to wear a mask they can wear a mask.”
Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County’s health authority said that it is time to make the transition.
“In fact the point of being vaccinated is so you can be protected,” said Melendez.
Melendez said that the Rio Grande Valley is near 50% immunity and has seen days reporting 0 deaths in Hidalgo County, but masks are still required in hospitals or where COVID-19 is known to be.
“And so at some point in time—we promised—if you get vaccinated this will happen and sure enough it’s happening,” said Melendez.
However, after more than a year of social distancing, one psychologist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley said that it will not be an easy habit to break.
“We’ve developed a habit over that time and to suddenly stop it is going to be difficult for most of us,” said Dr. Rebecca Resendiz.
Resendiz said that anxiety was heightened throughout the pandemic, and for some, the fear of spreading COVID-19 is still present.
“And that fear that you could cause somebody to get sick and potentially die—that was very real for a lot of us,” said Resendiz.
Melendez says we are now on an honor system and people still should remain cautious.