Texas restaurant covered in racist graffiti after owner went on CNN to oppose lifting mask mandate

Ramen shop in Texas vandalised after owner opposes governor’s order lifting mask mandate

Maroosha Muzaffar
Monday 15 March 2021 07:56
Ramen shop vandalised over owner's objection to lifting mask mandate

A ramen restaurant in Texas was marked with racist graffiti on Sunday, presumably after the owner appeared on CNN and objected to the governor’s order lifting the mask mandate for state residents.

Mike Nguyen, owner of the Noodle Tree in San Antonia, Texas, found racist graffiti scrawled all over his restaurant’s windows, that included phrases such as “ramen noodle flu,” according to news reports.

Nguyen had just days before appeared in a CNN interview in which he had said that he was “almost devastated” when he had heard the news of Republican governor Greg Abbott’s order lifting the mask mandate and reopening Texas.

“Greg Abbott doesn’t have the Texas people’s interest in mind. He cares about himself at this point,” he said.

Mr Nguyen had also spoken about his diagnosis of lymphoma during the interview. He added, “this year has been tough on me. Not only dealing with the stress of my sickness but also dealing with the stress that comes with Covid and the anxiety that comes with that.”

On 2 March, Mr Abbot had issued an executive order lifting the mask mandate and “increasing the capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 per cent.”

He claimed that “more than 2.5 million Texans who were lab-confirmed for COVID-19 have recovered since the beginning of the pandemic, and experts note the total number of Texans who have recovered from COVID-19 is likely 4-5 times that amount.” In the executive order, he also mentioned that “the number of active COVID-19 cases is the lowest since November, meaning more Texans are recovering from COVID-19 than contracting it.”

Mr Nguyen told reporters that he had feared backlash after his comments against the reopening.

“We do the right thing. Our governor has betrayed us but that doesn’t mean we have to follow him blindly,” he had said. Mr Nguyen had closed the shop for six months during the pandemic and had decided to reopen and follow all Covid-19 safety protocols issued by Texas’ Department of State Health Services.

Meanwhile, there had been widespread objections to the Texas reopening. The Houston Health Department had also issued a warning close to the reopening given the new highly contagious coronavirus variant. The department, as per news reports, had mentioned that the new highly contagious UK variant had been found at “31 of the city’s 39 wastewater treatment plants.”

“We do know is that there is a fairly large amount of the UK variant in our community and it is spreading,” Dr David Persse, the chief medical officer for the city of Houston, said. Dr Peter Hotez, the dean of Baylor College of Medicine had said, “I worry we’re in for the perfect storm. We’re lifting restrictions, the B.1.1.7 variant is here in a big way, and we’re lagging behind on vaccinations. None of that is good news.”

The Noodle Tree owner had objected to the urgency in lifting of the restrictions. In the CNN interview he had said, “A lot of us feel he is putting us in danger.”

Mr Nguyen also pointed out that they had seen a lot of attacks on Asian-Americans and “that’s a huge concern for me because I have a bullseye on my back.”

“Those (mask enforcement) confrontations open up the opportunity,” he added.

The restaurant, on Sunday, posted on their Facebook page that they were delaying the opening to 1 pm given the racist vandalisation.

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