Local business owners react to lifted NY mask mandate

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some businesses are welcoming the change Wednesday and are happy they don’t have to enforce the mask mandate anymore.

Many businesses said they struggle during the pandemic and still are trying to get back on their feet and business owners said they think this is the right move not only for them but for their customers as well.

“It was, it was a struggle it was a lot of ups and downs. I am glad we’re actually getting somewhat back to normal,” Tykim Whisonaut said.

Whisonaut owns Finesse Barber & Beauty in Rochester. He said COVID and the pandemic hurt business and he’s glad the mask mandate will be lifted.

“It’s a major issue, you don’t understand how many times I’m over here cutting somebody’s hair and I cut the mask off and it’s just falling off and people with facial hair, it’s hard to do it,” Whisonaut said.

Restaurants, gyms, hair salons and barbershops were some of the businesses hit the hardest.

Whisonaut said multiple shutdowns and having to wear masks was a ripple effect throughout the shop.

“People are nervous to come out sometimes and be in an area, a populated area especially a barbershop,” Whisonaut said.

Over at Roam Cafe on Park Avenue, Co-owner Drew Nye also said this news is a step in the right direction.

“I am excited. It’s another step towards getting back to normal and anything we can do to kind of get back to how it was is helpful for us and encourages people to come out more and it is difficult to try to police that policy,” Nye said.

Nye said they have done everything they can to keep customers safe with signs and giving out reminders to those who try to come in without a mask, says they still had problems with some not following the rules and now it’s up to the customer to make their own choice.

“I mean we’re certainly not going to discourage anyone from doing whatever makes them feel comfortable. We’re just excited to not have to enforce a mandate that some people have mixed feelings about,” Nye said.

Both said they will now make it optional for customers and it’s up to their discretion if they want to mask up or not.

Businesses can still choose to require masks at their establishment so it’s a good idea to check the rules before you go.