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To mask or not to mask: West Michigan businesses enforce own guidelines

Kalamazoo Downtown Businesses on Michigan Ave
Posted at 3:41 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 16:34:10-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It's the question of masking up or not for many West Michiganders after new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were announced last week.

Fully vaccinated individuals can now drop their masks according to new CDC guidelines and a public health order in the state of Michigan.

RELATED: New CDC guidance on masks relies on trust as businesses navigate new normal

Many businesses are coming up with their own rules to keep their employees and other unvaccinated customers safe.

"We can’t really enforce people to wear them if they are vaccinated, or if they’re not," said Benny DiCarta's Pizzeria Manager Rayanne McCormick.

Benny DiCarta's in Kalamazoo is one of the many restaurants who have lifted their mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals but not for their employees or those unvaccinated.

"Some people lie, some people come in without wearing masks because it violates their health rights. We are keeping ourselves safe. Everyone here is vaccinated," said McCormick.

McCormick said she and other employees will continue to wear their masks for a little longer.

"I am still worried about it. I think I will have peace of mind once a lot of people are vaccinated," said McCormick.

"That is great if you are fully vaccinated and not wearing your mask, but what about the individuals who either don’t believe that COVID is that big of a deal, the anti-maskers, the ones who believe that COVID is a hoax? How many of them are going to continue to wear a mask?," said Western Michigan University Professor of Public Health Dr. Robert Bensley.

That's why many local businesses are still implementing their own guidelines just like chain retailers.

RELATED: What's the risk level of going to the grocery store unmasked?

RELATED: Meijer allowing fully vaccinated customers to shop without face masks

Not requiring masks for fully vaccinated people:

  • Meijer
  • Target
  • Starbucks
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Trader Joe's
  • Aldi
  • Home Depot

Masks required for all:

  • Ulta
  • Walgreens
  • Menards
  • Rite Aid
  • Uber
  • Panera Bread
  • Dollar Tree
  • Dollar General

"I think that whole concept of having some wearing masks and others not wearing masks, that causes a whole lot of confusion. Obviously communication is the best approach in the planning process," said Dr. Bensley.

Another Kalamazoo restaurant, 600 Kitchen said they are looking for more guidance before fully implementing new rules.

While the establishment is allowing fully vaccinated individuals in with no mask, they are asking their patrons to be honest.