How downtown Phoenix restaurants are implementing mask policies


Restaurants in downtown Phoenix are enforcing their own mask policies after the state passed a bill exempting businesses from a mask warrant.

On April 9, Governor Doug Ducey approved document HB 2770 that states that “a company in this state is not required to enforce on its premises a mask mandate issued by that state, city, town or county. or any other jurisdiction of that State, “

After the bill was passed, restaurants in downtown Phoenix decided on different mask policies for their employees and customers.

Krystal Aguilera has worked at the Fair Trade Cafe for four years and said the cafe closed for six months during the pandemic and is open again. The company has since still required employees to wear masks, but this is now optional for customers.

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“We wear a mask out of respect for anyone who would prefer us to wear masks because in the same way it does not affect people who decide not to wear them,” Aguilera said. “We have noticed that most of the customers don’t wear a mask now, but there are all the other customers who do and we always want to keep the same respect.”

Aguilera added that she agreed with the mask policy.

“I don’t mind,” Aguilera said. “I know that in the end, it just protects me”

As you enter the entrance to the Songbird Coffee & Tea House, there is a sign saying that masks are encouraged. Owner Erin Westgate spoke about the mask policy she has given to her employees and customers.

“All of our workers are required to wear masks when around customers and during their shift. For customers, we ask that they wear it but it’s not mandatory, ”Westgate said.

Westgate explained why she implemented the policy.

“I want everyone to be safe. For our staff, we are all vaccinated but there is still transmission. We want to lead by example in what we would like our customers to do, ”said Westgate.

Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana has a different policy from other restaurants and does not require staff or customers to wear masks. Director Jamie Naquin said the decision was made after the exempt mask mandate bill was passed.

“Once the mandate was lifted, we removed the mask policy for our guests and for our staff. We thought people could make their own choices about how they wanted to proceed and be safe, ”Naquin said. “Our customers know that our staff do not wear masks. So if it makes them uncomfortable, there are still a lot of places that need it ”,

Ducey said in his letter that although there was never a statewide mask warrant during the peak of the pandemic, more than 90% of Arizona residents live in a jurisdiction. who implemented a mask warrant to slow the spread of COVID-19. He also said that big cities do not impose a mask mandate and let companies decide which mask policy to follow.

“I understand the concern and grief this has caused many of these companies and I am grateful that the sponsor has brought forward this bill to address this same issue,” Ducey said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maricopa County has the highest community transmission rate in Arizona and suggests that everyone in the community should wear a mask in indoor public places. As of November 1, 50.1% of the county’s population was fully vaccinated and about 58% had at least one dose.

Due to the high transmission, Westgate said there must be a higher vaccination rate.

“It’s not over. There are still people dying,” Westgate said. “People need to get vaccinated. If everyone did, we wouldn’t have so many memorial services. We just want to get the shot. err on the side of caution ”,

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