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To mask or not? Responsibility is stuck on St. Louis businesses

"I think you’re worried when you make a change like that, that it’s going to affect someone in a negative way."

ST. LOUIS — It's been a few days since St. Louis City and County relaxed their mask and social distancing rules.

But many business owners are still unsure of what to do and how they will enforce policies moving forward.

Some will require masks, others won't.

At Abigail's Gift Boutique in south city, owner Abby Fischer is following the CDC and city guidelines. 

"If you’re fully vaccinated, you’re welcome to shop indoors without a mask," Fischer said. 

She's following the honor system.

"We’re not asking, we’re assuming they’re following the guidelines, we don’t want this to become a 'show me your papers' situation," she said. 

She consulted with her staff prior to doing so. Almost all of her staff has at least one shot, which made her solidify her decision.

The latest change didn't get her any backlash.

"I think you’re worried when you make a change like that that it’s going to affect someone in a negative way," she said.

The Lazy Tiger in the Central West End did get some heat though, after keeping its mask requirement.

According to Tim Wiggins, co-owner of Lazy Tiger, several guests have become upset with the restaurant staff when they were informed of the cocktail bar’s remaining mask policy and ended up leaving. 

One patron got upset about the policy, voiced his feeling toward staff members, left the establishment and then sent an aggressive message to Lazy Tiger on social media to explain that he would inform everyone not to visit the business. 

“While the CDC's recent mask policy and recommendations are very exciting, it will take our restaurant teams some time to figure out what a 'new normal' will look like," Wiggins said. "Unfortunately, our staff wasn't included in the foodservice tier for priority vaccinations, so we have members who are not fully vaccinated as of yet. The safety of our team and guests remains the top priority, so we ask that everyone is patient and kind as we navigate not only a pandemic but a staffing crisis as well. Once we are fully vaccinated, we look forward to seeing our customers smiling faces again soon.”

Businesses have the right to ask for masks. Just think of it as a no shoes, no shirt, no service concept.

They can also ask for proof of vaccination.

Juniper is requiring vaccination cards if you don't want to wear a mask. 

In an email sent to customers, it says it's not stigmatizing some people since its policy requires you to voluntarily show the vaccine card. If you forget it or choose not to show it, you have to wear a mask.

Ferguson Brewery is following the latest guidelines in North County. 

You can go maskless, if you're fully vaccinated.

"It’s hard on my staff to enforce different rules," Owner Robb Wiesen said.

But it's keeping some measures in place such as the six-foot spacing and staff being masked up.

With these changes comes pressure on the already limited staff.  

"With staffing issues, with different guidelines that we have to follow, just be patient as we’re all learning as we go," Wiesen said.

Some business owners also said their policies may change, as vaccination numbers increase. 

Others also will slowly increase its capacity space, but it'll need more staff to go along with the increases as well.

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