New York companies are setting their own course on masking

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MALONE, NY (WCAX) – Thursday marked the first day of no mask or vaccine requirements for indoor public spaces in New York State. Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday lifting the two-month mandate, while allowing businesses and municipalities to set their own rules. Kelly O’Brien looked at the different approaches taken by two North Country companies.

Good business at Lucky Strike Lanes in Malone “So far so good this year, so we’ll see what the future holds,” said bowling alley owner Scott McLaughlin. He says it will only get better from here now that they no longer need to worry about constantly monitoring proper mask use. “To every small business – not just me but everyone – I mean we’re all understaffed and just putting another burden on ourselves is more of a pain than anything else.”

McLaughlin throws masks into the gutter and says he hopes all goes well – or rolls – from here. “We are happy that it is over. I hope it doesn’t happen again and we move on,” he said.

But at Chapter One Coffee and Tea in Plattsburgh, the mask sign remains on the door. “You know what? The people have been great,” owner Tracy Victory-Rosenquest said. “We started the mask requirement long before the mandate and we’re going to maintain it until it’s safe and appropriate for our staff… When someone quarantines, it’s really hard for a small business owner to keep my doors open and serve my customers, so keeping the masks on really supports our business as a whole.

She plans to keep masks on until North Country’s case numbers look a bit more promising. The area currently has the highest seven-day positivity rate in the state at 9.18% compared to the statewide average of just under 4%.

“We have one or two customers who are unhappy and that’s fine. There are plenty of other places they can get a cup if they don’t like it,” Victory-Rosenquest said.

Masks are still mandatory in schools, healthcare facilities and on public transport.

Related stories:

NY to drop indoor mask mandate on Thursday; School masking continues

When is a good time to remove masks in Vermont classrooms?

Vermont cities change their masking policies

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