It has been less than a week since New York state lifted its face mask mandate for fully vaccinated people. Businesses and customers are still feeling mixed about it. It is commencement weekend in Syracuse and businesses are filled with graduates and their families. In-person graduation this weekend is bringing sales back to small stores.
“It’s been a rough year for all businesses, and it’s nice to see the swing starting to swing up for the businesses not just for us but for everyone in Syracuse,” said Manny’s co-owner Bill Nester.
Businesses are taking different approaches with mask rules for employees and customers.
“I’m not wearing a mask, but most of my employees are still wearing a mask, so we’re in a transition period right now,” said Nester. “There’ll be another week or two of people deciding what to do, what should I do.”
“Relieved that we’re making progress, I think it kind of put stores and restaurants in somewhat of a bad spot because there’s some people that are very adamant about not wearing masks at all whether they’re vaccinated or not,” said J Michales Shoes manager Erik Hicks.
Some business owners say only a handful of people are entering stores without a mask.
“I would say maybe as the week went on 15 to 20% were unmasked,” said Hicks.
“Ten percent are not wearing masks, but another 10% ask me if they have to wear a mask,” said Nester.
For fully vaccinated people, personal preference varies.
“I am still running around with my mask, when I am going into enclosed spaces I do put my mask on still,” said Syracuse University grad Ndezha Robinson.
“I’m really pleased that we can wear masks much less now and feel very comfortable about that,” said Sheryl Kelleher from Massachusetts. “Fully vaccinated, as hopefully many Americans are and feeling very good about it. Ready to get back to life.
“I don’t know if we’re far enough recovered from this to take it off just yet,” said Hicks. “I mean it’s pretty simple, I mean it’s a simple thing you can do.”
Vaccinated individuals are still required to wear a face mask in certain situations, including on public transit, in nursing homes and in schools. Meanwhile, unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a face mask in all public settings under both state and federal guidance.