Businesses prepare for the potential of mask requirements once again

SPOKANE, Wash. — The CDC is now recommending that everyone in ‘high’ COVID-19 transmission areas wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Spokane and Kootenai counties both fall in that category, although the state has not declared a mask mandate so far. Restaurants, which were some of the hardest hit businesses by pandemic restrictions, are not looking forward to what could be a step backwards.

“The biggest area that is going to affect is going to be our, the guests and the customers of our restaurant,” said Juli Norris the Co-Owner of Downriver Grill and Operations Director of The Flying Goat.

Norris said any potential changes to the mask policy wouldn’t impact the employees as they are already required to have masks on. The real challenge will be with the guests, who have now been allowed to dine in without a mask, as long as they are fully vaccinated, for a couple of months now.

“I feel that people are kind of tired of it and I feel like it, I feel like a lot of our patrons are feeling like it’s a step backwards,” said Norris.

While life has returned to somewhat normal this summer, Norris adds her restaurants have remained cautious during the entire pandemic and kept up certain safety measures inside the buildings.

“We have dividers that separate each table. We still have a few of our larger tables, we haven’t brought them back to the restaurant regardless of the capacity restrictions that were lifted. We have adequate spacing between the tables,” she said.

These moves just to stay afloat have not been cheap on Norris and the other restaurant management, and keeping up with other larger places in the area is never easy, but they do hope some good comes of these requirements and restrictions.

“We just hope that those rules are based in really what’s best for the people of the state of Washington and for our local community here in Spokane,” said Norris.

4 News Now also spoke to another manager of a nearby restaurant Tuesday evening off camera. He said he isn’t looking forward to the confrontations between his staff and guests when it comes to enforcing any sort of mask policy.

RELATED: Community members weigh in on CDC’s new mask guidance 

RELATED: Spokane Regional Health District recommends people mask up indoors, regardless of vaccination