‘Not all that surprising:’ Local business owners and shoppers on renewed mask mandate


WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In response to the state of New York still experiencing spikes in Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Governor Kathy Hochul is bringing back a mask mandate for anyone who’s at an indoor public setting.

It all goes into effect Monday if you want to get into any of these businesses on East Ave. or elsewhere in the state to shop and eat, you’ll need to wear a mask unless the owner already requires proof of vaccination to enter.  

Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement Friday Morning, starting Dec. 13th going through January 15th, anybody inside what’s deemed an indoor public setting must mask up or comply with a vaccine mandate out in place by management.  

“It wasn’t too much of a surprise that it happened,” Jon Gonzalez who owns Hegedorns Grocery store told us. “I guess we were kind of waiting to see what direction things would go in and waking up today to the news was not all that surprising.”  

“I wasn’t surprised at all seeing the numbers going up every day and hospitalizations,” Sarah Austin on Webster said. “I mean this time of year it’s already bad with viruses I’m sure she’s just taking precautions before things get worse.”

This move does worry local restaurant owners who spent most of 2020 closed that we may head back in that direction. Also confused about how they’ll enforce these rules.  
“I’m going to protect my business if somebody’s at my front window water to smash it in because they couldn’t prove they vaccinated,” Whitey Proietti, owner of Proietti’s Italian Restaurant argued. “I don’t think that should be on me but they’re putting that on the business owner.”  

The one alternative would be to require all customers and staff to show proof of vaccine to avoid masking that didn’t seem popular for those in the grocery and foodservice industry. Because it’d be harder to enforce. And those already fully vaccinated are frustrated to go back to masking up.  
“If you’ve been vaccinated, I don’t care which one you’ve had but you shouldn’t have to wear a mask,” Tim Decker of Webster said. “It should be up to you. If you’re not feeling good, then put a mask on.”  
“I don’t think that it’s my job as a restaurant owner to stop someone at my front door to see your vaccination card,” Proietti added. “That makes no sense to me whatsoever. I think it’s going to put a lot of people out of business.”  

Enforcing this mandate will fall on the department of health and local authorities. Penalties for any violations of this mandate can result in a $1000 fine per violation as well as more civil or criminal penalties.  

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