Indoor masking requirement won’t happen yet, business owners hoping for the best: ‘We would take a hit’


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he’s not implementing a county-wide indoor mask mandate for non-county buildings just yet.

If the county reaches 50 cases per 100,000 residents, county employees and visitors to county buildings will be required to wear a mask again.

However, he said he’ll reconsider a mandate on other public buildings if caseloads and hospitalizations rise significantly as time goes on.

Linda Iantorno from Terrie’s Workout Center said they lost a lot of clients when masks were still required. She said if that goes into effect again she’s afraid of what it could do to business.

She said members are just starting to come back to the gym. She teaches a cycling class and even with limited capacity, it’s nowhere near full.

“It’s very difficult to wear a mask and work out and especially in a cycling class,” she said. “I’ve seen members outside of Terrie’s and they’ve said once the mask thing is over they’ll come back to the gym.”

Daniel Yablon owns Steve’s Clam Bar and said requiring masks again wouldn’t be the worst case scenario.

“I’d rather us all be safe and not have numbers spike again and then have to be shut down because that would be a hinderance to a lot of small businesses like me that are just starting to get a foothold again,” he said.

While many places are going on the honors system when it comes to vaccine status Iantorno said they check proof of vaccination at the door. She said this ensures unvaccinated people are wearing a mask.

“We have never had an issue here, knock on wood, but we never have so I think us checking and people being honest it has helped,” she said. “A lot of them willingly show us their card we don’t have to ask.”

She said they’re hoping for the best but they’ll do whatever it takes to stay open.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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