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Some bars and restaurants seeing changes after updated mask mandate

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 2:52 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Updates to CDC guidelines and local mask mandates have some bars and restaurants loosening their rules. The city of Cedar Rapids announced Friday that people who are fully vaccinated can resume activities without a mask or social distancing.

Individual business still have the right to require masks, and some public buildings are requiring them too- like the Cedar Rapids Public Library. And federal law still mandates masks for people who ride public transit.

It’s been a challenging year for the Irish Democrat in Cedar Rapids.

“It was very uncharted territory, everything was brand new and we tried to adapt as fast as possible. We did quite a bit of carryout,” said owner Ryan Jones. It reopened for dine-in back last fall and Jones says business has been picking up.

The Irish Democrat is requiring staff to wear masks and had been asking customers to wear them when not seated. Jones says from Thursday to Friday, things changed.

“Usually we have 80-90% of people come in with masks, and today was the complete opposite . Now that the CDC has released the information that you can be indoors without masks for fully vaccinated people, we saw quite the amount of people coming in without masks today,” Jones said.

Friday morning, he says they took down the “masks required” sign.

Just a couple miles down the street, the Fieldhouse on 1st Ave had already stopped requiring customers to wear masks. Over the last year, they’ve been socially distancing tables and taking extra sanitizing measures.

“We haven’t had a single person get sick on staff, so we felt comfortable doing what we’re going to do,” said owner Carrie Kraklio.

Now, Kraklio says she hopes the updated mask mandate will bring in a few more familiar faces.

”I have a few regulars, I have one who is a cancer patient, she’s near and dear to my heart, Carol, and she has not come in yet because she has no immune system. And I’m hoping that more messages like this are going to tell her it’s okay to come out even if she chooses to wear a mask,” Kraklio said.

Jones says they plan to keep tables socially distanced for now, but is excited for the future, saying “Just to get people in here, drinking and having fun shoulder to shoulder, is what I’m really looking forward to.”

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