The CDC has lifted the mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These new guidelines leave local business owners with many unanswered questions.
Many of these business owners say these guidelines leave them in a tough spot and they are on the fence about what kind of policy they should encourage.
After more than a year of back and forth on social distancing, capacity limits and mask wearing guidelines, the CDCs newest guidelines leave a lot up to the discretion of the business owner.
Sara Kim, owner of Lollie & Co. believes these guidelines are unclear, especially since her entire staff is fully vaccinated.
“We are not in a position to make that blanket statement for people, so the government has once again has given us the opportunity to police our own situation, which is awful.” Kim said.
Kim says without more guidance, business owners will have to make their own decisions.
“As business owners, we’re in a terrible spot, so you kind of just have to go with your gut and we’re going to leave it up to our customers.” Kim said.
Shane Neal, a barista at Brew Ha Ha, says their business is taking a different approach.
“Unfortunately, not all of us are vaccinated here. We’re close and we’re working on it, but we’re just asking everyone to still wear a mask if they can, if they don’t mind.” Neal said.
Dr. Howard Nadworny, infectious disease specialist, says while it’s safe for those who are fully vaccinated to not wear a mask, he suggests business owners encourage patrons to wear one.
“If you can’t be sure that the un-masked people are vaccinated, then the safest thing to do if you want to reduce the spread of COVID is to have everyone wear masks.” Dr. Nadworny said.
Dr. Nadworny says the P-1 Brazilian strain has been identified in Erie County. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you may want to consider wearing a mask inside public spaces.