Mayor Treece explained in his announcement on Monday it is up to each business to decide how they will enforce their own restrictions. Matt McCormick, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said businesses can decide what is right for them. “It won’t impact how we work in any way,” Speake said. “We’ll continue with the six feet in between tables primarily to ensure that my staff feels safe.” “It’s kind of like that no shoes, no shirt, no service type thing that’s in place,” McCormick said. “We just have to ask everybody to be respectful of one another and be respectful of that business’s opinions and decisions to operate in a manner they feel will be safest for their staff and customers.”
Mayor Brian Treece announced that if COVID-19 cases keep trending down, Boone County’s health order will end May 12th. Wearing a mask and social distancing will become a recommendation instead of a requirement. “I think it’s too soon and I think we should wait a couple more weeks,” Butler said. “Especially with the vaccination rates, if we’re to reach herd immunity we need to get over 70% of people vaccinated.”
Sanford Speake is the manager of Sycamore Restaurant across from Columbia’s City Hall. Even with the health order being lifted, it won’t change his business operations. Greg Butler is the owner of Sagua La Grande Cuban Cafe in Columbia. He explained how he doesn’t feel it’s safe to fully reopen yet.
“It seems like the city is in a rush to lift the order,” Butler said. “I know everybody’s tired of wearing a mask, especially people in the restaurant industry because it’s so hard to prepare food without being able to breathe properly. But I’m willing to wait just a little bit longer until more people are vaccinated.” Columbia’s first health order came on March 16, 2020 when the city declared a state of emergency. Boone County’s current health order is set to expire on Wednesday, May 12 with no additional health order to follow. With Boone County rescinding its health order next Wednesday, there will be no enforcement of mask wearing in businesses from the city. News owners are hopeful customers will be respectful of individual guidelines once the health order is lifted.
“We’re not going to return to full capacity because we can’t hire anyone,” Speake said. “No one is applying for jobs in restaurants so if we bring back all our seats and tables, we wouldn’t have the staff to serve those customers.” Restaurants across the country are facing a labor shortage of employees to work in the food industry. This is another reason why some restaurants may not open back up to full capacities.
The News Highlights
- Boone County health order update allows companies to operate without restrictions, but some are not yet ready | COVID-19
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