COVID-19 restrictions are relaxing worldwide as cases start to down surge. The relaxations are presenting a conundrum for business owners who aren’t entirely certain if they want to follow suit. Several areas have long abandoned indoor masking requirements, but major coastal cities are finally rolling back COVID-related restrictions.
Yet with memories of previous COVID waves still fresh in their minds, some small and medium-sized businesses are nervous that officials could be moving too quickly. Seesawing numbers over the last two years have seen mandates wax and wane. Previously, it was common for restaurants to require masks for entry based on guidelines from local governments. But it was small businesses that were forced to implement it — and sustain the backlash from upset customers who feel they have had enough.
Mask-wearing mandates in California, however, will continue to be strongly recommended particularly in crowded settings or while interacting with people at higher risk of severe illness from the virus.
According to the most recent guidance from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of the U.S. population can go mask-free, allowing people who live in counties designated as having low to medium COVID-levels to remove their face coverings inside public spaces.
New York is also poised to do away with several of its COVID-19 protocols for K-12 public schools and proof-of-vaccination requirements for indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues. That marks a significant milestone, given that the Empire State was once an epicenter of the pandemic.
Businesses and citizens alike, however, remain jittery about the prospect of another wave — or even another variant. Looking to the future, business and venture owners hope that people remain vigilant and continue to wear masks, keeping social distancing, while remaining behind the sneeze guard that we have located in our stores and following the protocols.