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Virginia Beach restaurants celebrate the end of mask mandate

Waterman's Surfside Grille
Waterside Surfside Grille
Posted at 9:42 PM, May 15, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va - On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam lifted mask mandates for fully vaccinated people following CDC guidelines.

Restaurant managers in Virginia Beach say they are excited to see things getting back to normal.

The manager of Quirk Towncenter, Alexandria Zabolski, says the lifting of mask mandates is a step in the right direction.

"We are following the CDC guidelines so we are not requiring that they wear a mask. It’s really nice not having to be down people's neck and be like ‘Hey, do you have a mask? Sorry, you have to have a mask,’ because it was fighting tooth and nail to get people to wear them because they just did not want to."

Zabolski says she's ready for things to get back to normal.

"It was a feeling of relief and excitement. It’s really good to get back to a sense of normalcy. Like it was a little bit before COVID."

Restaurants now have the option to require customers to wear a mask or follow CDC guidelines. Northam strongly recommends that unvaccinated people continue to wear a mask in public.

"We do not plan to ask people if they’ve been vaccinated. If it’s a risk they choose to take not having been vaccinated and still wear their mask or not wear their mask, that’s a personal decision and that’s up to them." Zabolski said.

The general manager of Waterman’s Surfside Grille in Virginia Beach says he agrees with Northam’s decision.

"If people don’t have a mask on, I’m gonna assume they’re vaccinated and let them enjoy their time. I think that it’s time. Everybody’s tired of the masks and numbers are good. Let’s enjoy the fresh air and see everybody smiling again," Eric Emerson, the general manager of Waterman’s Surfside Grille, said.

Both managers say they also lifted their mask policy for employees.

"Just as the mask mandate has been lifted for everyone, we went ahead and lifted it for our employees," Zabolski said.

One customer says she's still getting used to the new CDC guidelines.

"It takes some getting used to. We’ve been so long with the masks. I’m vaccinated but I still have my mask around my neck. It’s exciting that maybe we’re going to be getting a sense of normalcy sometime soon," Erin Quay, a Quirk Towncenter customer, said.

Northam also announced the state plans to lift all capacity and social distancing restrictions on May 28.