Business work to navigate policy as Minnesota drops mask mandate

The new masking rules are leaving some business owners and their customers celebrating and others frustrated.

The policy shift came Thursday as the CDC issued new recommendations saying vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most situations. Now, many businesses working to determine what they should do.

"As of right now, the plan is... we don't have a plan," said Courtney Norgaard, the owner of Local Roots in Richfield.

Friday, Norgaard was still surprised and she isn't sure what to think about no mask requirements for those who are vaccinated. So, until Monday, she’s keeping her employees masked up while customers can do what they like.

She'll consider changing her mask policy over the weekend but is waiting to get a better feel for what those she's serving and working for her want.

"I don’t want my employees engaging in any sort of conflicts with anyone. I don’t want them to feel unsafe or feel they need to police anything. So we instruct them to do nothing."

At the Black Hart of St. Paul, Wes Burdine is thankful his city is one of the few keeping a mask mandate, but he’s also flustered. Masks have been political for far too long and, without uniform state rules, he worries about employees and enforcement.

"They don’t want that to be how they greet people," said Burdine. "They want them to come in and feel comfortable. They don't want people to come in and get scolded for whatever rule they didn’t know still existed."

Meanwhile, in Arden Hills, Flaherty's Arden Bowl is now collecting masks in a trash can in exchange for a dollar off drinks. The general manager is looking forward to smiles and what he calls the happiest happy hour in a year.

Back at Local Roots, Conall Quinn is keeping his mask close by, ready to wear it on an establishment-by-establishment basis.

"I’m excited to not have to wear it," said Quinn. "At the same time, maybe ease into it a little more. Make more people feel comfortable around the area."