HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There continues to be mixed reactions from business owners on Governor Kay Ivey’s plan to eliminate Alabama’s COVID-19 mask mandate after April 9th.
While some Huntsville businesses aren’t going to require their employees or customers to wear masks after the mandate expires, many will still enforce their own mask rules.
In statements, Target, Whole Foods Market, and Toyota say they will require employees and customers to wear masks after the mandate expires.
That’s also the case with every small business News 19 reached out to Friday – of those who’ve made a decision.
Many businesses and institutions are actively evaluating what their rules will be on April 10.
Claire Aiello with the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce says businesses should do what fits their needs.
“A lot of restaurants and a lot of small businesses have bent over backwards to put health and safety precautions in place to make customers feel comfortable,” Aiello said. “I see them continuing that. I think it’s going to be determined by what their customers ask of them.”
Aiello says North Alabama business owners have done a great job adapting to the pandemic.
She expects that to continue.
“I know people who have not gone out to a restaurant since last March and they’re a little nervous about what’s going to happen in five weeks,” she said. “However, there are many others who have been out to restaurants and they know that restaurants have taken a lot of steps to make customers feel safe.”
Having five weeks before the governor’s mandate expires gives businesses time to craft their own rules.
“I do imagine a lot of people will remove the signs from the front of their entryway,” Aiello said. “I think others will decide to encourage masking.”
ShaDana Langford, who owns Amis Graphics, says she’ll encourage customers to wear masks after the mandate expires.
“We want to be safe,” Langford said. “We have to go home to our families as well as we want our customers to be safe. Just so that we can remain safe and healthy, we’ll still require our customers to wear a mask.”