COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Businesses in downtown Columbus are reconsidering their policy on masks due to the delta variant.
In the Short North and throughout downtown Columbus, many businesses are posting signs strongly recommending masks be worn indoors, even for those fully vaccinated.
These recommendations come as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is now saying masks should be worn indoors for everyone in the city and Franklin County, regardless of their vaccination status.
This is in hopes of slowing the spread of the delta COVID-19 variant. Saturday, the state reached 1,469 new cases and 25 new hospitalizations.
Data compiled from state health sources show COVID-19 cases in Ohio are slowly increasing, causing health experts to raise flags about possible new outbreaks.
Business owners said that they are encouraging masks and are in favor of a mask mandate as long as that mandate prevents another business shutdown.
“I don’t mind going back to a mask mandate, but I think it really has to be mandated,” said Amy Kesting, co-owner of Spoonful Records. “You know, this way it’s required, and the rest of the city is, you know, people won’t be prepared.”
“We want to recommend it since we do acknowledge that there are still some risks,” said Francis Wilson, assistant manager at Global Gifts. “We don’t have perfect or great ventilation, there could be a lot of people, we hope in this space, and we want to encourage people to think about the risks and make the choices best for them.”
As of Saturday, 49 percent of the state’s population, approximately 5,765,696 Ohioans, have started the vaccination process.
Wilson said she’s started seeing some of their customers wearing masks again.
“So we’re really grateful that people are taking advantage of these free masks looking to be safe and protect themselves in stores,” she said.