LOCKPORT, NY (WKBW) — Businesses outside of Erie County were adjusting back to a state-wide mask mandate Monday.
In Niagara County business owners were trying to enforce the new mandate as some customers were showing up without wearing a mask.
First day of the state-wide mask mandate. Business in Lockport in Niagara County are working to alert customers. @GovKathyHochul @WKBW #masks. pic.twitter.com/sAaKqvcPH7— eileen buckley (@eileenwkbw) December 13, 2021
“The customers — it's kind of hard to enforce it, even if we put signs up — doesn't mean they are going to follow the rules,” explained Rachel Rossow, manager, Mark’s Pizzeria, Lockport.
Employees at the pizzeria and the owner at a nail shop in Lockport say they're ready to enforce the new state-wide mask rule to keep customers and employees safe.
“Yeah, there's going to be a lot of people who are upset because they were ready to get back to the normal way of life, but there is no normal way of life anymore,” reflected Jikira Johnson, owner, Time to Glow Glamour Bar, a nail and spa treatment business.
But Johnson says her customers always cooperate.
“If they want services and they know the only way they can get it is to wear a mask — they're going to put on the mask,” declared Johnson.
“A lot of people, once they see you've got to wear a mask, they'll turn away and take their business somewhere else,” replied Hayden Frain, Wet Vapes, Lockport.
But Frain said fortunately that wasn't happening inside Wet Vapes.
Frain says he believes a mask mandate could help bring the spiking COVID numbers back down. He says for the most part, customers were cooperating Monday.
“Everyone came in with a mask. I think there was only two people that didn't wear masks, but they weren't from New York you could tell by their accent, so they probably weren't used to the mandate just yet, but a lot of customers are really willing to put a mask on as well,” said Train.
While inside the vape shop, one customer walked in without a mask, but when Frain told him it was required, the customer went to his vehicle and returned wearing one.
At Mark's Pizzeria, in the same plaza, worker Phillip Owen says some customers have walked in without masks.
The state mandate says businesses could allow customers not to wear masks, if they are fully vaccinated.
But Owen says it's too difficult to check vaccine cards.
“Especially this time of year. It's getting busy because of the holidays, you can't really — when there's a lot of people — you can't really be checking for all their vaccine cards. You're just trying to get them out the door as soon as possible,” responded Owen.
It is status quo in Erie County, where a mask mandate has been in place since last month.
Phase two would require businesses to put a vaccine mandate in place.
A spokesman for the county executive office tells me all the data is being reviewed by the health department and county executive, and if anything were to change, it would be announced at Tuesday's COVID briefing.