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Birmingham business owners split on continuing mask requirements

The state mandate is scheduled to end April 9, the City of Birmingham’s mask mandate continues until May 24
Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 12:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A recent survey shows Birmingham area business owners are split on whether they’ll continue to comply with mask requirements after the Alabama mask mandate ends Friday.

The Birmingham Business Alliance polled about 300 area businesses. The alliance asked businesses if they would require employees to wear masks after the statewide mandate ends? A very slim margin, 51 percent said yes, 49 percent saying no.

The gap widened a bit when asked whether they would require customers to wear masks, with 60 percent saying no they wouldn’t. BBA CEO Ron Kitchen said the split shows how delicate the issue is for business owners.

“What it says is, it’s an emotional human issue that we have to be kind and patient, don’t yell it and humiliate other people because they want to wear masks them wearing a mask doesn’t impact you at all,” Kitchen says. “If you’re a masker and they’re not, extend a little grace, you know keep your six feet away from them. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself washing your own hands, doing the smart things that we’ve been doing now for 14 months because we’re almost there.”

The survey results were released before the city of Birmingham voted to extend its mask mandate until May 24. However, the poll did ask businesses, “Would the continuation of a public face mask order be helpful or harmful to your business?”

Among the businesses that responded, 28 percent said it would be harmful, 34 percent said it would be helpful, and the majority 39 percent said they weren’t sure.

Click here to read the full survey results.

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