Local business owners breathe easier with mask mandate lifted

Content of the article

From classrooms to bars, the great unmasking has begun.

Content of the article

Local business owners were all smiles on Monday as the provincial government lifted its mandate requiring face coverings in most indoor settings.

“It hasn’t been easy for us considering all the restrictions that restaurants, especially the hardest hit ones, have had to comply with,” said Filip Rocca, co-owner of Mezzo Ristorante and Lounge. “It was very difficult. We’re trying to run a restaurant and stay afloat. It’s not easy trying to enforce all these mandates when customers come in and some aren’t willing to do it. But we’re happy to move on and we’re excited to hopefully be back to normal.

Weeks after removing capacity limits and proof of vaccination requirements, the province lifted its mask mandate, allowing people to go naked to schools, restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other indoor public places.

Content of the article

The majority of my customers were super happy

“I think it’s a pretty big day,” said Phog Lounge owner Tom Lucier. “The variation of comfort levels is such a strange thing to maneuver. But based on how overwhelmingly we were criticized when the passport case went to bed, I predict the mask mandate will have a similar effect. So it’s good.

Tom Lucier, owner of Phog in downtown Windsor, is pictured Monday, February 14, 2022. He welcomes the easing of pandemic restrictions. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

There are some facilities where masks are still required, such as Transit Windsor, Windsor Public Library, some health care facilities, long-term care homes and other congregate care facilities.

For places where the mask mandate is lifted, the government has said business owners can still choose to require masks if they wish.

Hair salon owner Samer Markus said he would leave it up to his customers.

“We’re going to make it optional for customers,” he said. “If they want to wear, they will wear it. If they want to go back to where we do their shavings and put the mask back on, absolutely. And we make it optional for employees. If some boys want to wear it, we make it optional. But personally, I’m not going to wear it.

Content of the article

He also doesn’t expect many of his customers to wear masks.

“Everyone was thrilled with the news,” he said. “The majority of my customers were super happy.”

Rocca also doesn’t expect to see many people wearing masks in his restaurant. He said it was difficult to get people to put them on when it was mandatory at the provincial level.

“We would have to tell several people a day to do it,” Rocca said. “Obviously the staff will also be happy, especially with the spring/summer heat that we will have.

  1. Windsor Regional Hospital - Met Campus is pictured Thursday October 7, 2021.

    Hospital visitor removed mask, two tests positive: WRH

  2. Tom Lucier, owner of Phog in downtown Windsor, is pictured Monday, February 14, 2022. He welcomes the easing of pandemic restrictions.

    Relief sets in as Doug Ford announces lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions

  3. Exterior of Windsor-Essex County Health Unit offices on December 2, 2021.

    Health unit urges caution as mandates are phased out

Lucier said he was concerned that a small number of people would be comfortable in mostly mask-free environments. But he suspects most people will feel like him.

On his way to the gym on Monday, Lucier was on edge when he realized he didn’t have a mask on. Then an “endorphin rush” kicked in when he remembered he didn’t need it.

“I absolutely loved that achievement,” he said. “It was awesome. I have a feeling there will be customers who will have the exact same feeling. They’ll walk to their favorite restaurant and bar, and as they approach, they’ll looking for a mask in their pocket and realizing they don’t need it if they don’t want it, and they’re going to come to the bar with a smile for the next two weeks.

[email protected]