Local businesses on the Square voice their reactions to the new mask mandate Oxford issued on Aug. 25. The mandate requires all indoor and outdoor facilities to enforce mask wearing when social distancing is not possible.
Square Books has been mandating masks from the beginning of the pandemic, ensuring the safety and health of all their employees.
Lynn Roberts, general manager of Square Books family stores, said she was pleased to hear that the new mask mandate was put into effect.
“It’s just helpful to have a city mandate, and that way it’s not so sensitive for all the staff who have to police things and have to ask people to wear masks, it’s just kind of nice to have that authority,” Roberts said.
Since the mandate, Roberts says customers have been very compliant with the new rules in effect.
“I think it has been a little bit confusing for some people that were traveling here from out of town, and who came from places without a mask mandate, but we did have some masks to give out to people when they didn’t have one,” Roberts said.
Retail stores do require a mask to be worn at all times, but for restaurants and bars, the rules differ.
Proud Larry’s has also been mandating masks for their employees.
Austin Smith, the manager and bartender at Proud Larry’s, said he was not surprised to hear that there was another mask mandate implemented.
“We were down to do anything that was keeping us open and safe and healthy,” said Smith.
Proud Larry’s is known for their small concert venue. Starting Sept. 1, everyone who purchased a concert ticket must show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to the event.
There has been push back, but for the most part, Smith says that customers have been abiding by the rules.
Similar to Proud Larry’s, the director of operations at Boure, Dan Constant, expected there to be another mask mandate.
“We’ve always taken precautions very seriously. We have the temperature check and if anybody reports any sort of illness we certainly are requiring them to stay out of the building, or get tested before they return,” Constant said.
There has been some backlash from customers, which Constant had to communicate with over the phone. However, the mask mandate has not affected Boure negatively.
Lee Harris, the owner of Funky’s, said he really didn’t have much of a reaction when the mandate was put into effect.
“We suggest wearing a mask unless you have food or a drink, which all of our people are going to normally drink once they enter,” Harris said.