Local businesses prepare for updated face mask rules, hopeful for more customers

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As businesses across the area turn their “open” signs on Wednesday, many will also be taking their “masks required” signs down.

On Monday, Gov. Cuomo announced NYS is adopting the latest CDC guidance, allowing fully vaccinated people to go to outdoor and certain indoor venues without face masks.

“We’re all excited about it. I think society as a whole is excited about this step forward,” said Therese Deutschlander.

Deustchlander owns Thin Ice on Elmwood Avenue; she’s also president of the Elmwood Village Association. She says many local business owners believe this is a great step for the shops and their customers, especially as the weather gets warmer and more people are out.

“In the summer people are just going out for a walk, they don’t think to put on their mask. They don’t think to put another layer on their face, and they want to check out a store and, oh shoot, they don’t have a mask,” Deutschlander said. “Now that simple mistake has been eradicated by the fact that if they don’t have a mask, they don’t need a mask, they can just come in.”

She said she will allow people inside her store without masks, but the issue will come down to being able to tell who’s vaccinated and who’s not. Cuomo said businesses will be able to step in and ask customers to show proof if they want.

“If somebody wants to ask ‘are you vaccinated?’ if they’re comfortable asking that, then that’s on them,” Deutschlander said. “But…I want to trust people; take them at their word and know they respect my health as much as I respect theirs.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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