DC area restaurants, businesses differ on mask policies as region reopens

It’s been a little over a week since the CDC said vaccinated people can go mask-less indoors. Local businesses and restaurants are still adjusting.

A bakery in Alexandria was one of the first businesses in the area to stop requiring customers wear masks.

READ MORE: DC updates mask guidelines days before lifting most capacity restrictions

"Now everyone is getting the shot, I said it’s their call. I can’t say do it or don’t do it. I want them to be comfortable," Tom Lally, the owner of Alexandria Pastry Café said.

Alexandria Pastry Café has a sign on the door that reads, "Per the CDC and Governor Northam we no longer require masks for fully vaccinated guests."

Lally says at first most of his employees chose to keep their masks on but he has seen some change in recent days.

"Most people are institutionalized right now but slowly, one or two come out without the masks. The kids behind the counter they’re masked locked down right now. People in the kitchen are loosening up a little bit. When you’re with a 400 degree oven, you don’t want to have a mask on so they’re taking it off a little bit and it’s getting more normal for them," Lally said.

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Lally is using the honor system and not requiting employees or staff to prove they’re vaccinated. He says he hasn’t received many complaints from customers and some are even embracing the policy change.

"Some people are just so happy to have it off. They’re sitting and talking more and more. They’re starting to socialize more. I have groups of people who come in, they’ve been coming for years and they had been sitting and talking from a distance. Now they’re taking their masks off and it’s start to get back to semi normal," he said.

READ MORE: Nationals opening to 100% capacity in June; won’t require masks for fully vaccinated fans

But not all restaurants and business are moving so quickly. Liz Kincaid owns four restaurants with the RVA Hospitality Group. She says she left the decision up to her employees on whether or not the restaurants’ policies should be changed.

"The staff’s consensus was that they would feel safer if the guests continued to wear their masks and especially in front of house continue to wear theirs too. And then obviously that would give us some time too to come out with a way to figure out who on our staff has been vaccinated and who hasn’t," Kincaid said.

Several large retailers like Starbucks and Target also adjusted mask policies following the CDC’s announcement.