Some Richmond businesses still require masks even if vaccinated, others allowing no masks with ‘honor system’

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many businesses are now lifting their mask requirements for fully vaccinated people since Governor Ralph Northam lifted the statewide face covering mandate on Friday. However, that hasn’t been the response across the board.

Just like throughout the rest of the pandemic, businesses have the power to deny service to people who refuse to wear face coverings. Now, even if you’re vaccinated, you may be allowed maskless inside some businesses but not others.

If out and about, it’s probably still best to keep a face covering on you.

Masks are slowly coming off around Carytown. “We see the full face and see how pretty the smile was,” said Guadalupe Ramirez, the owner of AlterNatives, a boutique on Cary street. While outside, she’s finally seeing some of her customer’s full faces.

However, when walking in to AlterNatives, Ramirez asks that customers mask up– even if they’re fully vaccinated. After Northam lifted the mask mandate on Friday, Ramirez said she and her team had a discussion about how to move forward and decided to keep the same rules in place for now.

“We have to take a little more caution. Our establishment is pretty small,” she told 8News Monday.

Manager Tiffany Refazo said all of their staff are already immunized, but continuing to require face coverings is what’s comfortable.

“It’s been a year and a half of being in a lockdown so the paranoia can’t go away over night, especially over a weekend. So I’m playing it cautiously. Maybe I’ll feel a little better once we learn more and I can see data on it,” Refazo said.

The mask requirement may change, they said, but it’ll be played by ear. “We just have to do one day at a time,” Ramirez said.

At Stella’s restaurant in the fan, a mask now isn’t required– if you’re vaccinated.

That said, workers won’t ask for proof of that. “We’re gonna kind of go on the honor system,” said Manager Kameron Townsend. “We have faith in our clientele.”

Staff are fully immunized there, too, but they’re still masking up for now. So far, Townsend said so did most customers when arriving over the weekend.

“Interesting enough, I think people are comfortable with the masks now. So those that want to wear it were wearing it. I think we only had like 10 percent that were not wearing it,” she said.

Stella’s will slowly add more tables and chairs beginning around May 28, when all capacity restrictions are lifted.

“Small businesses, especially restaurants that are our size, going from 50 to 75 percent [capacity] did not really help us. So this could allow us to really bring back what people are used to,” Townsend said.

Ramirez said over the weekend, she didn’t have too many problems with customers not wanting to mask up inside. Like many other shops, if you forgot a mask, they have one free for you.

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