ROCHESTER, Minn. - Rochester businesses are awaiting the Rochester City Council's decision Monday evening to require masks in city facilities or not. Mayor Norton's Emergency Declaration Amendment Requiring Masks in City Facilities doesn't require masks in all public spaces and businesses, but does encourage businesses to enforce their own mask requirements.
Gray Duck Theater and Coffeehouse is one of the local businesses that will now enforce its own rules. Beginning Monday night at its 7 PM showing of Back to the Future, all patrons must wear masks in the lobby and coffeeshop area. Once seated and socially distanced in the coffeshop or theater, the masks can come off.
Owner Andy Smith cites protecting staff and customers, helping people feel comfortable being at the theater and coffehouse, and not wanting businesses to close as some states with lifted restrictions have had to, as his reasons for enforcing this new rule. "Places like Texas and Oklahoma and Florida and other places, we've seen them have to roll back being able to open for businesses and we don't want that to happen to us. We want Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota as a whole to be safe and healthy and wearing masks has been shown to be the best way to do that," he explains.
Smith hopes city council will pass the Mayor's ammendment, as it will help businesses we able to enforce their own rules.