Local businesses reconsider mask mandates

Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 19:10:53-04

Last week, the CDC recommended that schools should require face masks for both those who are vaccinated and those who are not, to combat the rise of delta variant cases.

They also gave those recommendations to places that have indoor gatherings.

"We immediately put a sign in the window requiring people to wear masks."

That was Omaha restaurant Kitchen Table's response to the recommendations.

"We feel our responsibility is to our employees and our customers,” Kitchen Table owner Colin Duggan said. “They don't have a choice whether or not others get vaccinated, so we feel in order to stay open and provide the service that we want to provide, we really have to enforce that mandate."

ALSO SEE: Target, Kroger among retailers updating mask policies in light of new CDC guidelines

On top of health concerns, there is the scare that if the spread continues to grow like it is, it will cause another big hit to local businesses.

"That's really a scary thing going into the fall. June was great, I think for everybody in Omaha, with the College World Series back and a lot of people in town,” Duggan said. “It felt almost normal again. We need to be really careful of falling into our trap of living our wish as opposed to reality."

Another driving factor is that it's hard to tell who has been vaccinated, and now that we know that while they very rarely have symptoms, vaccinated individuals can spread the virus as well.

"There's no way to tell who's vaccinated and who's not. There's so much debate over it, and it's really not our business,” Duggan said. “We can only do what's best for the people who are here and the people who have to be here. I think we just have to continue, stay the course, and get through this together. It's the only way to do it."

All in all, making the choice for Kitchen Table and some other local businesses an easy one.

"It's not a decision we're making, it's something that we feel we have to do in support of public health in general," Duggan said.

Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse agreed with the CDC recommendations.

As of right now both Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said they are not ready to enforce that mandate.

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