Are Mask Mandates Back in Restaurants?

The Spread of Mask Mandates

It’s been a long time since mask mandates were the norm, but they’re coming back this autumn as COVID-19 cases spike. With the Delta variant a continued threat, public health orders are calling for masks in bars and restaurants, even for vaccinated customers.

L.A. County has had one since mid-July. The mandate works congruently with restaurants choosing to require proof of vaccination or recent negative test. These additional precautions can quell the spread of Delta. L.A. isn’t the only one to require extra safety measures nowadays, either: San Francisco and Pennsylvania have both considered increasing security too, with mixed public reactions.

D.C., the Bay Area and Louisiana all have mask mandates as well. More are debating similar rules, particularly areas with high caseloads.

| eatOS October 24, 2021

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Why Mask Mandates Are Popular

Approximately two-thirds of customers prefer vaccination proof upon entry. It makes them feel safer while they’re dining with masks off, even with tables socially distanced. Also, customers are getting more invested in supporting moral businesses. They like to see restaurants protecting their workforce. Mask mandates make employees safer too.

It’s also good for restaurants trying to entice back their workforce following months of a labor shortage. Employees want to come back to work, and they’re more likely to return to an employer who has their safety in mind.

Meanwhile, these mandates follow the latest CDC recommendations stating this is the most effective way to stop Delta from spreading. All around the country, cases are surging, hospitalizations are getting worse, and even places that haven’t required masks are following the CDC’s footsteps and strongly suggesting it, anyway. Some states may go as far as issuing fines for businesses that won’t comply. Especially while Delta remains a prevalent threat, mandates like this could come and go swiftly. It’s in restaurants’ best interests to pay close attention to local ordinances.

| eatOS October 24, 2021 restaurants mask mandates

Photo by Eric Dekker on Unsplash

How Restaurants Will Change

Despite all these safety measures, restaurants don’t have to worry about capacity restrictions anymore. They’re still leaving tables six feet apart or partitioned, for the most part, but they aren’t limiting how many people can come in at a time—only who.

Since New York City started requiring proof of vaccination in mid-August, (link to Will Vaccination Proof Soon Be Countrywide? article once its published) safety precautions like this have become more and more commonplace at restaurants. Right now businesses can still opt in, but more states are putting mask mandates in place as cases rise again. Keeping your restaurant on top of customers’ interests means staying alert, flexible and smart with business decisions.

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