New CDC mask guidance forces local businesses to consider policy change

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jul 29, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Southern Eats restaurant in Downtown Norfolk says business is slowly getting back to normal. Owner Ginnele Shonyo says sales are around 70% of what they were before COVID-19, but she fears the Delta variant might halt progress.

“I was just talking to our general manager, and he says, ‘I was getting really excited for the Scope and the Admirals and the Chrysler and everything, but now this came out today,'” said Shonyo.

As of now, the restaurant says it won’t change its mask policies for staff or guests.

“We’re not changing any of our policies. If it’s an option, we’re going to leave it as an option until we are told otherwise,” said Shonyo.

The CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and to protect others in areas with substantial and high transmission.

In the past week, community transmission has been substantial in Norfolk and Hampton and high in all other Hampton Roads cities.

Mike Anthony works at a grocery store and says there will likely be policy changes at his job.

“A lot of my employees were just able to take the mask off, and now in the next week or so I’m not looking forward to telling employees, 'Hey, we need to put her mask back on,' so [I'm] not looking forward to that,” said Anthony.

For now, masks in indoor settings are a recommendation, not a requirement, but some want to play it safe as cases rise.

“I think it’s okay. I’m willing to do it to not get sick,” said Natasha Anthony.

For some, it’s a welcome sigh of relief.

“I think it’s about time they did something so people wear masks and they stop getting this disease to spread,” said Thomas St. Andre.

And for others, putting back on a mask is irritating, but they’re willing to do what needs to be done.

Related: Hampton Roads weighs in after CDC reverses mask guidelines

“It’s a little bit of - what’s the word - annoying, you know, like to go back to that, but at the same time if it’s more for the safety of others, then that’s fine too as well,” said Christopher Haley.

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