It’s been roughly four months since St. Joseph officials did away with the city-wide mask mandate, leaving face-covering policies up to individual businesses.
Some businesses did away with them completely, others made them optional and some kept them strictly required. Those decisions came at a time when the COVID-19 vaccine was not fully available to the public.
In March, Nesting Goods decided to require face coverings for employees and customers. Since then, those requirements have eased to only recommending face coverings of customers although employees continue to wear them. But as new COVID-19 cases in Buchanan County have risen this summer, owner Cris Coffman said she is likely to require masks once again for customers entering Nesting Goods.
When the city-wide mask ordinance ended in late March, Pappy’s Grill & Pub decided to take a unique approach. Owner Michelle Margulies did not require face masks for her customers but had her employees wear them while on the clock. However, her business incentivized mask-wearing by offering a 15% discount on a customer’s bill if that person chose to wear a mask in the restaurant. She said the decision to require masks for herself and the employees was mostly well-received. The bulk of the criticism came from social media.