Rochester area restaurants taking different approaches to new masking rules


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Whether you now have to wear a mask or not when going out to eat, depends on where you’re going. 

Some local restaurants are adopting the CDC’s new guidelines, which went into effect in New York Wednesday, that say those who are fully vaccinated can remove their masks and stop social distancing in many circumstances. 

“We’re allowing the customers if they have been fully vaccinated to not wear a mask if they choose not to wear a mask,” Scott Thyroff, the owner of Pittsford Pub. “We are gong to continue to have our staff wear masks at this point only for the comfort of some of our guests who are still cautious about the whole pandemic.” 

Lee Selover, the Owner of Windjammers, says he’s excited for the new guidelines and what they mean for his customers. 

“You can see people laugh again and smile again, and maybe some people don’t agree sometimes, but it’s so great that you can tell that they are normal again and people are happy about it,” Selover said. 

Other places, like the Red Fern and Cafe 1872, are still asking you to keep those masks on, even if you’ve been vaccinated 

“It really comes down to safety at the end of the day. Some of our staff members aren’t able to get the vaccine, or they haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, and the same can go for the people that we are serving,” said Joseph Allman, the Assistant Manager at Red Fern. 

Paul Gersonia, the Owner of 1872 Cafe, says he’s going to reevaluate every 30 days to decide if staff and customers can take off masks. 

“We’re hoping to see better control and higher vaccination numbers, and without the ability to know who is vaccinated and being on the honor system, it makes it difficult for a business owner,” Gersonia said. “It’s 15 months we’ve been going, what’s another month for having the masks on? It’s not going to change that much. It’s not New Years Eve out there and we don’t want to be celebrating just yet.”

For many businesses who are following the new CDC guidelines, they say they will rely on the honor system for customers who say they have been fully vaccinated. 

“What are you going to do? Go up and ask people if they’ve been vaccinated? I mean it’s going to be a hard call and I think everybody will say they are vaccinated,” Selover said. 

Thyroff said, “We’re not going to ask for proof of vaccination. As long as the state is not requiring to do that, we are going to take people’s words that they are being honest and truthful with us. I am sure there are some people that are going to probably lie about it but we’re just going to go with what people say and move forward.”

Many restaurants say they don’t have enough employees to ask people for proof of vaccination. 

“We don’t really have the staffing to really check people’s vax passes at the door and the honor system we can’t really rely on when it comes to safety so that’s why were are not really going to do the whole checking if people have vaccines right now,” Allman said. 

Businesses ask that you respect customers, employees and restaurant rules if you decide to eat at their establishments. 

The CDC’s new guidelines still encourage masks to be worn in crowded indoor public places like buses, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and prisons. 

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