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Local businesses split on new CDC mask guidance

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 10:03 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Businesses across the state are evaluating their mask requirements after the CDC’s latest guidance that said fully vaccinated people can take their face coverings off indoors and outdoors.

“It’s great to actually see people’s faces again,” Soca Clothing in Homewood owner Jeff Tanner said. “We decided that we are not going to tell our customers what to do. They are optional for our customers.”

Tanner said they are still deciding on the mask policy for employees, so for now they are wearing them.

He said before the CDC’s latest guidance, about 75 percent of customers were wearing masks, but that’s starting to change.

“Today, it’s been less than that because of the new guidelines, I think people feel safer to not wear it, but still more than half of people are wearing masks,” Tanner said.

He said the new guidelines mean more than just not wearing a mask anymore, it’s a sign things are going back to normal.

“It gives us a lot of hope,” Tanner said. “We are event driven. If they are going to events, going out to dinner, whatever it may be, that means they are going to shop for a new outfit for whatever they are doing, so that makes us feel very optimistic.”

Other businesses in the area haven’t changed their mask policies yet.

“Since there is still a city-wide ordinance in Birmingham, we are still requiring people to wear masks,” Rojo co-owner Laney DeJonge said.

Birmingham’s city-wide mask requirement is set to expire on the 24th, but DeJonge said if the city lifts the ordinance, their policy will change.

“Then it is going to pretty much be up to the individual,” she said. “We want everyone to feel safe.”

DeJonge says employees are still wearing masks and some have asked to continue, even once the ordinance is lifted. She said whatever makes employees and guests feel comfortable.

The restaurant also just launched their indoor dining again this week and DeJonge sees the new guidance as a sign of hope.

“I think a lot of people are really excited about coming back to restaurants, they’ve been cooped up all year, it’s going to be really exciting this summer,” she said.

The CDC guidance does leave it up to businesses, restaurants, and grocery stores to require masks if they want to.

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