COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With most state health orders now a thing of the past, Gov. Mike DeWine says individual businesses can choose which mitigation measures to enact.
And business owners are taking that message to heart. Some have COVID-19 related health rules in place, others do not.
“It might be a personal preference, it may be a business owner’s preference and we ought to respect that,” said Don DePerro, President & CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
The Columbus Chamber of Commerce has about 2100 members in the 11 counties it covers. Most of its members are small businesses. DePerro suggests businesses figure out what works best for them and what they’re most comfortable, realizing that could look different from shop to shop.
For Chapman’s Eat Market in German Village, that means keeping a mask requirement.
“The biggest motivating factor for us is just being respectful of people’s trauma that they faced through the pandemic. I’m not worried about COVID spreading in our four walls,” BJ Lierberman, Owner & Chef. “I’m not worried about that at all, what I am worried about is people feeling comfortable, feeling safe.”
His employees are still required to wear masks as are patrons when they are not at their tables. It’s the latest decision in what’s been challenge after challenge for the restaurant industry during the pandemic. From a guidance perspective, Lieberman says the health orders being lifted doesn’t feel much different than when they were put in place.
“I’ve felt like we’ve been on our own for a large part since the beginning,” he said.
He says masks won’t be required forever but still wants to give it some more time. His establishment is not alone in keeping a mask requirement.
Others have decided masks are optional and discarded barriers between tables.