WASHINGTON D.C.: Large and small US businesses, from McDonald’s and Home Depot to local yoga studios, are re-introducing face mask mandates as coronavirus cases rise, with bars, gyms and restaurants across the United States requiring proof of vaccination for entry.
After a mainly mask-free summer, the reversal was caused by the rapidly-spreading delta variant and new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But business owners and workers said they will do whatever is necessary to keep their doors open and maintain their economic gains from the last few months.
“We have already been through the worst of challenges when we shut down indoors last year. Let us just get ahead of the curve here,” said Brack May, chef and owner of Cowbell, a New Orleans burger restaurant, adding he expects vaccine rules to become commonplace.
Next month, New York City will begin requiring proof of vaccination for entry to restaurants, gyms and theaters.
Currently, customers are far more likely to encounter mask mandates. After lifting mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people in May, the CDC reversed its advice in late July, encouraging the use of masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas with higher rates of transmission.
The shifting guidance has caused confusion, in terms of which rules should be enforced and how to implement them. For example, Walmart and Target recently began requiring employees to wear masks, but not among customers in areas where coronavirus transmission rates are high, while McDonald’s requires both employees and customers to wear masks. Home Depot’s mask mandate, however, applies nationwide.
Several areas, such as Louisiana, the San Francisco Bay area and Las Vegas, are mandating masks be worn indoors.
Many business owners did not wait for the CDC or their local governments before acting, but not every business supports the mandates and some workers are not keen to see the return of masks.
Originally Appeared Here