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'Mask surcharge': North Texas restaurant's sign gains attention, serves up a side of science

Legends Diner posted a tongue-in-cheek $50 surcharge if the owner has to explain why masks are mandatory.

DENTON, Texas — Legends Diner is serving up a side of science. 

“We do a surcharge,” owner Wayne LaCombe said. “Fifty dollars if we have to explain to why a mask is important.” 

There’s also a $75 surcharge if he has to listen to why you disagree.

The tongue-in-cheek sign in the window has gotten a lot of support in-person and online. 

“People laughing taking pictures of it,” LaCombe said. “Mostly great reactions.” 

Co-owner and Wayne’s wife Kat fielded one comment that was less than enthusiastic.

“He didn’t trust a restaurant owner-manager to give him medical advice,” Kat LaCombe told WFAA. 

It didn’t end well.  Kat, a retired RN with 28 years in oncology posted a lengthy Facebook response, which drew the distinction between safety precautions and government restrictions, highlighted by the phrase, “some things must be done without someone telling you to.” 

“I understand that they’re tired of this but COVID’s not gone,” said Kat LaCombe.

The couple recently got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Texas Motor Speedway, where Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson said 12,000 vaccine doses a day are only part of the solution.

“We still want people to wear masks,” Richardson said. “We still want people to be physically distant.” 

Back at Legends Diner, a second sign in the window reads “wear a mask, only a small percentage have been vaccinated.” 

Wayne LaCombe said business owners want things to get back to normal just as much as anyone else, but he also has a responsibility to protect the customers that do like his signs, and those who don’t.

“Our business is 50, 60, 70, 80-year-olds,” Wayne LaCombe said. “Unless we all work as a team, we’re not going to finish the race.”