Small businesses evaluate mask policies after new CDC mask guidance

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
mask sign
Credit: WINK News

The latest chapter in the mask debate could be turning small businesses against CDC guidelines.

This swift change of course has left some businesses and shoppers not knowing what to do or believe. Should they trust people will follow guidelines and mask up if they aren’t vaccinated or continue telling everyone to wear one?

Small business owners especially are all over the place with these guidelines. One store clerk says they took down their “mask up” sign as soon as the CDC guidance came out last week.

Other stores will continue to require their customers to wear masks. Some say they’re at a crossroads and still wanting to require masks but are unsure of what to do with the new CDC guidance.

While walking down Fifth Avenue in Naples, you’ll see many businesses with empty windows and without any “mask” signs in sight.

John Porter says he’s always prepared. “I always carry my mask with me in case I need it or they want me to wear one,” Porter said.

And many others still do the same with signs up saying “face mask is mandatory” and “face mask are required.” On Aldo Castillo’s gallery door, it says “please wear a face mask or covering.”

The newest CDC guidelines released last week state that vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks indoors. That didn’t change Castillo’s mind.

“The reason is that many people are not vaccinated. The fact that we have the vaccine it doesn’t make us immune,” Castillo said.

But, for other businesses, like Health and Wellness Co, the new guidance is a huge relief. Ann Rasmussen is the owner of Health and Wellness Co. “I would say about 90% of the people who walk into this office once they realize that they no longer have to wear masks they just say ‘oh thank goodness,'” Rasmussen said.

In other parts of Collier County, there’s some frustration. One shop owner spoke to WINK News off-camera saying he would still be requiring masks if the new CDC guidelines hadn’t come out.

“It’s tough for businesses with the guidance because you don’t know if anybody’s been vaccinated, they’re not going to tell you,” he said said.

Ann Gray is vaccinated and still masks up indoors. “I guess I’d rather err on the side of being safe so for a while maybe,” Gray said.

Several national businesses have dropped their mask mandates since the new guidance came out, including Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Walmart.

The mask mandates in the City of Naples and in Collier County both expired in April.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.