MADISON, Ala. – Alabama’s mask mandate may be over, but a number of businesses are not quite ready to pull the plug on their own rules.
“When we saw the sign I was really delighted to see that.” said one customer.
Fleet Feet’s newest franchise in Madison decided to go with a mask policy after their grand opening on Friday.
Co-owner Dink Taylor, who also operates another store in Huntsville, said he still felt the store had an obligation to keep his employees safe. Everyone who enters the running store is expected to check in, mask up, and apply hand sanitizer.
“I’m ok, that’s fine, that’s their business, you know,” said customer DeJuan Reese.
But that doesn’t mean Reese backs masks overall.
“I don’t like them too much. I got one lung and it’s hard for me to breathe,” Reese added.
Like masks or not, Taylor said most customers who have come in so far have embraced Reese’s attitude, and happy to comply.
For those who don’t want to put on a mask, the store gives them an option, they can get fitted outside or leave. It’s a policy some customers said provided them with peace of mind.
“I prefer those places that have the rule. If they don’t have the rule I may not go in yet,” said Rhonda Thompson. “I think it’s a little too soon to relax it, so I will be wearing my mask for a while.”
Taylor also said his decision to keep masks wasn’t just about safety, he said he also considered them good for business. The store has been struggling to hire staff during the pandemic, but customer traffic has never been busier, so it’s essential that his staff stay healthy. It’s why both of his stores, for the moment, are staying at 50 percent capacity too.
Taylor said he doesn’t know how long he will continue to require customers to wear masks. He said he will continue to evaluate COVID-19 in the community and end that policy when he believes it’s safe to do so.