Mask on or mask off: Local businesses debate whether to keep mandatory mask policies

Business

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There’s an odd dance going on across the state of Virginia: mask on or mask off?

On Friday night, Gov. Ralph Northam lifted the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people.

Individual businesses and companies can still make their own rules regarding masks — and not all of them are on board with the governor.

The universal mask policy stays in effect as of Monday at the MacArthur Mall in Downtown Norfolk. Nearly every store inside the mall kept the policy as well.

We spoke with Pamela Katrancha, owner of Garden Gazebo in the mall.

“I’m more comfortable taking things a step at a time,” explained Katrancha. “I believe it’s the right decision to keep the masks right now.”

Katrancha says over the weekend, no one walked into her store without a mask.

She says it’s a tough ask for business owners to let unvaccinated people go maskless when they can’t require proof of vaccination. She wants more clarity from state leaders.

“Clarity is the big issue right now, ” said Katranch. “People are interpreting all different ways. Therefore we’re going to get all different reactions.”

10 On Your Side also stopped by Hilltop Plaza in Virginia Beach where we found an array of protocols. In the plaza Pet’s Mart required masks, Five Below had no guidance posted in their windows at all, and Trader Joe’s was allowing vaccinated shoppers to go mask-free. The stores are all right next to each other.

One Trader Joe’s shopper who didn’t want to be identified said she has been happy with Northam’s handling of the pandemic until now. She said it’s too soon to ditch the masks.

Another lady shopping without a mask said she finally feels free and is enjoying every minute.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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