How lifting the mask mandate could impact local business owners

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – Over 11 months after Gov. Jim Justice signed an executive order mandating facemasks indoors, that mandate is lifted throughout West Virginia.

For local business owners, the primary reaction is one of relief.

“It’s safe,” said Range Finder Coffee Owner/Operator Craig Reger. “Or safer, to be vaccinated, without masks in a building.”

Reger is vaccinated for COVID-19, but up until the end of last week, still wore a mask at work. He’s been on the side of science, but has been comfortable interacting with customers not wearing masks.

“And that’s because the majority of people that work here are vaccinated,” Reger said.

Range Finder lifted its mask mandate last Friday. In his first day without a mask in the workplace, Reger feels confident that the timelines of his business and the state no longer requiring masks indoors line up. However, he does understand if customers still opt to wear a mask to feel safe.

“If it helps you feel safer, you can still wear your mask when you come in here,” Reger said. “Even though we lifted our mask policy.”

Private businesses and schools can still require facemasks indoors. Reger expects business owners to benefit from that flexibility if COVID-19 numbers continue to improve throughout the summer.

“I think people will be more open to either wearing or not wearing a mask,” Reger said. “Depending on their own situation.”

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