Business owners, Rochesterians weigh in on reinstated mask mandate

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Following news that Gov. Kathy Hochul was re-instating New York’s mask mandate for all indoor public places starting Monday and lasting through at least Jan. 15, Rochesterians and business owners are weighing in.

Emily Heider of Brighton said she’s all for it.

"I think if we can help prevent the spread of COVID it’s a good thing to do, and hopefully more people will get vaccinated, and we won’t need to wear the masks as long," Heider said.

Gabby Lynn feels the same as well saying, "I just feel like if they don’t have their vaccinations they shouldn’t come in without a mask on."

"Yeah, I think that’s important too. I think that’s one way to keep businesses open by having people prevent the spread, and by people getting vaccinated so that businesses can stay open, and more businesses can open up soon," Heider said.

Local businesses are getting ready for the new mask mandate, but not everyone is on board with Hochul’s announcement.

News10NBC talked to two business owners who have opposing opinions when it comes to this mandate.

Some business owners at this point are willing to do whatever it takes to stay open, while others are fed up with these mandates.

Katie Mogavero owns Do or Dye Beauty and Barber Shop in the Village Gate neighborhood. She said things are going great. She’s not looking forward to the start of the newest indoor masking policy, but kind of saw it coming.

"We have been kind of monitoring New York City, and kind of surprised that it hasn’t come this way yet," Mogavero said.

Hochul is calling on business owners to require masks, or proof of vaccination, or face a $1K fine.

"I feel hesitant about asking people for their cards," said Mogavero. She goes on to say, "It’s already been a little bit of a struggle to get people to abide by the masks, let alone asking them for their card when they come in."

Mogavero says she will comply with Hochul’s mandate… but the same can’t be said for Veneto Wood Fire Pizza and Pasta. Operation Manager Don Swartz says this mandate is unnecessary.

"We’re 90% vaccinated according to the State’s own numbers, and here we are," Swartz said. "It just seems we’re going backwards, and backwards, and backwards to where we were a year ago. So, you know, I’m not happy about the measure."

Swartz said people can wear a mask if they want in his restaurant, but he will not ask for proof of vaccine.

"I don’t want to know what your vaccination status is. I don’t want to know what your medical history is. I don’t think it’s my business," Swartz said.

As far as the $1,000 fine?

"So I’ll be the first $1,000 fine. Come down. They know where I am. I’m not asking anybody for medical information. Period," Swartz said.

Children under the age of two are not required to wear a mask while inside a business.