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Businesses react to mask order

By: Donnamy Steele

Although the state of Alabama now requires masks while in public, Businesses are able to decide whether they will be enforcing mask-wearing in their business.

Jon Gibson, executive chef at The Wheelhouse in Opp, stated that masks are strongly encouraged but not required at the restaurant.

“We are strongly encouraging masks,” Gibson said. “We have a little leeway since this is a restaurant, but we are still encouraging customers to wear masks when walking in and leaving.”

Although not required in the restaurant, Wheelhouse is supplying masks as well as sanitizer for customers who dine with them.

“We provide masks free of charge to anyone who needs one,” Gibson said.

Gibson stated that it is too soon to tell how customers feel about the restaurant’s mask policy.

“It just started so we haven’t heard much of a response yet, but after 5 p.m., some customers did wear masks and some didn’t,” Gibson said. “Since we posted our policy on Facebook we haven’t had any push back, but that isn’t to say there won’t be any later on.”

Mike Ward, owner of Ward & Co., has explained that most customers comply with the new state order.

“So far, everyone has worn one and some wore them before,” Ward said.

Ward does not require masks but enforces social distancing to 6 feet apart.

“We recommend that everyone wear a mask and we make sure to keep everyone 6 feet apart,” Ward said. “I always make sure to keep everyone 6 feet apart or further in the store, which is easy with this store.”

With Alabama’s sales tax weekend beginning today, Ward has seen a number of customers come in regardless of the new mask requirement.

“Tax weekend started today and it is starting well. I’m not sure if too many people know about it though,” Ward said. “Everyone that has come in has been wearing them so far. I wear a mask when customers are in the store and if they see me with it on, they usually put theirs on.”

Ward is confident that his customers will comply with the statewide policy.

“I think they care about staying safe and keeping others safe, so it hasn’t been a problem here.”