Mask mandates being considered by more Michigan businesses as delta COVID cases rise

Posted at 1:29 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 18:25:51-04

(WXYZ) — More businesses across metro Detroit are weighing mask requirements for their staff and customers as the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 spreads.


In Ann Arbor, the city is know for having a wide variety of popular shops and restaurants. Among those, a growing number are looking closely at re-instituting mask requirements.

As an Ann Arbor business owner of 20 years, Tommy York of York Cafe on Packard knows his customers well. For a period of time, he recalls mask mandates being lifted and customers dining indoors freely without masks.

Yet, during an after-hours interview with us, he explains his recent decision to again require masks for all customers, including those vaccinated.

"First and foremost, all of us working are thinking how many people are we coming in contact with: 200, 300, 400 people in a day. What if somebody is sick, what if we get sick?” says Tommy.

York Cafe is also not the only business in the area taking this bold step that is not required by the state.

On city council, Jen Eyer says its an important discussion being had more and more and a move she supports.

"The only way we are ever going to get back to normal, is if we are able to stop the virus from being transmitted and mutating,” said Ann Arbor Councilmember Eyer.

Opponents of businesses like retail shops and restaurants requiring masks not just for workers, but also for vaccinated customers, point out the feeling their freedoms are being infringed upon.

We asked Beaumont Health’s Director of Infectious Disease Research Dr. Matthew Sims for his take, and the potential for delta and other variant rates to spike.

"There’s a perception people don’t want to wear masks and a lot of people don’t, but there’s just as many who do. As weather gets colder and we are forced indoors more, we are going to see more cases as people who are not masked interact with each other. I do expect a fall surge," said Dr. Sims.

Tommy says while he’s even gone as far as closing eating areas inside and only allowing food to be enjoyed outdoors, the decision must be up to individual business owners and it’s one not every customer will agree with and that's OK.

"Coming across sincerely, people get it. I just keep coming back to 'what’s our responsibility?' My responsibility is to keep everybody safe and keep building a good business and good community," he said.

Councilmember Eyer wants to remind everyone that the city itself doesn’t have the authority to impose a mask mandate, but rather the county health department and state have the ability to do so if they determine it’s absolutely necessary for public health.