WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Small business owners are preparing for the possibility of maskless customers this week. Those who spoke with News 4 say they are excited, but feel cautiously optimistic about Gov. Cuomo’s updated guidelines.
“I like it. I like that we’re moving forward,” said Hi-Fi Records Owner, Joe Igielinski. “Here, we’re still going to keep the masks in place though.”
Igielinski says the relaxed mask restriction is a sign that things will return to normal soon — he’s anticipating loosening store policy by the summer. In the meantime, he’ll keep customers informed.
“There’s signs on the doors that say you still need a mask, and we require it. If we see someone without a mask we’ll ask them to put one on. We don’t want to start any big deal about it.”
At Clayton’s Toy Shop, a facemask won’t necessarily be required, but owner Kelly Klos says it is strongly recommended, especially considering her customer base.
“So many of our customers are under the age of 12 and they do not have the option of being vaccinated if they want to be,” said Klos. “We also want to keep everyone safe and happy.”
Klos is hopeful adult shoppers keep that in mind when they stop by.
“We’re going to have big signs on the door stating why we are asking you to wear a mask, and we’re just really hopeful that people will understand.”
There are several ways businesses can tell if a maskless customer is vaccinated.
“Some are looking at the honor system, some might look at the digital app that’s out there, some people are walking around with their [vaccine] cards,” said Amherst Chamber of Commerce President A.J. Baynes.
Regardless, Baynes says customers should respect the wishes of store owners, and the safety of community members.
“It’s no different than a business that says ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service,'” said Baynes. “Businesses will have to choose what’s best for them, and their employees to ensure safety.”