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For some, business unaffected by Erie County mask mandate

Posted at 11:44 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 23:44:54-05

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's been one week since Erie County mandated masking in indoor public spaces.

“We're just hoping that the businesses understand that we have no interest in fining anybody, nor do we have any interest in shutting anyone down if it got so bad if they were a repeat offender. We just want people to wear masks. It's bad out there with Covid and I hope people would understand that, including the business owners. I think the last thing they would want during the holiday season is to be fined or risk potential shutdown,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz at COVID-19 media briefing on Tuesday.

Due to the mandate, some have said they will take their holiday business out of the county, others say they will not enforce the mandate.

The owner of Vidler’s 5&10 in East Aurora hasn't seen a drop in business since the mandate began last week.

“The majority of customers, I'll say 95%, have been great. They've been wearing them when they come in. If they don't have it on, we kind of politely ask them, tell them that they have to, and they'll put on right away and apologize,” said Don Vidler, the owner of the 90-year-old store.

Vidler says there is one thing that is hurting business.

“What’s hurt us is Sundays when the Bills are doing well, we're not as busy,” said Vidler while laughing.

Further down Main Street in East Aurora is Homegrown Kitchen. The restaurant was open during the entirety of the pandemic.

Abbey Brown, the owner says she hasn't had any issues with the masking policy.

“We just kind of just go with it. We don’t really have a choice, so if it does come down to where we have to minimize the amount of people we can have in here, or even if we have to switch back to take out, it’s we have to do,” said Brown.

Both Homegrown and Vidler's make customers wear masks, per the county mandate. Other East Aurora business owners on Main Street, who did not want to speak on camera, said it's their customers choice and don't enforce the mandate.

As for Vidler, he hopes masking works in lowering COVID-19 transmission numbers and shutdowns are avoided.

“That's why I just wish people would just wear the mask, I think that we wouldn’t have to worry about the possible shutdowns or getting back to capacity constraints. I think wearing the masks is an easy fix for everybody to stay open through it all,” added Vidler.

County leaders will make a decision on whether to go to Phase two no later than December 13th. Phase Two would require proof of vaccination for restaurants and entertainment venues.