North Alabama businesses making plans in case statewide mask mandate expires Friday

Local business owners are already making plans on if they'll require masks to be worn if the order expires.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 4:49 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2021 7:00 PM

On Friday, Alabama's current statewide mask mandate is set to expire and questions about if Gov. Kay Ivey will extend it are already looming.

North Alabama business owners are already making plans on if they'll require masks to be worn if the order expires.

"We're encouraged that hopefully, we've come through this far enough that the governor can release any state-issued Safer at Home orders and leave it up to the people of the state of Alabama," Travis Duehring, the owner of Just Love Coffee Cafe, said.

Duehring's business opened up just a month before the pandemic began, so a majority of the time the doors have been open, employees and customers were required to wear a mask. But, he says if the governor doesn't extend the statewide mask mandate, that'll change.

"If there was no requirement from the state, we would not require it. We would also not prohibit it," he said.

Duehring said the mask requirement has impacted customer and employee interactions at his cafe and says lifting the requirement will help improve that. He said Plexiglas barriers and other safety measures taken will still continue even if the mask mandate expires.

Duehring said he won't discourage customers and employees from wearing a mask, but will simply leave it up for them to decide if they want to or not.

Another business owner WAAY 31 spoke with says regardless of what decision is made, he'd still wear a mask.

"If it expires, I'll still wear it. I'll still wear it in my customers' houses. I'll still try to keep them safe and my family safe as much as possible," Adrien Caballero, a local business owner, said.

Duehring believes no matter what decision is made in regard to the mandate, there will still be unhappy people on either side.

"Whatever the decision is going to be, they're going to face backlash on one side or the other, and I just pray for them that they will make the best decision with the information they have available," he said.

Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to announce her decision on if she will extend or let the mandate expire during a news conference on Thursday at 11 a.m. You can watch this live on WAAYTV.com and on air on WAAY 31.

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