Community reacts to mask mandate

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(ABC 6 News) – We’ve experienced a mask mandate before, by now people are used to it. But, not everyone is happy about it.

"I think it’s a sensible move, and I don’t find it offensive at all," Jim Scott, a Rochester visitor said.

"Working at Mayo we understand the importance of how omicron transmission would be cut down if we all wore our masks," Lavanya Pashikanti, a Mayo Clinic employee said.

"It’s not and should not be a political issue," Howard Smotkin, a Rochester visitor said.

Right before you walk into a building, the signs are back, requiring masks to be worn inside.

For some business owners, it’s frustrating because it’s back to square one.

"You have to adjust, you don’t really have a choice in the matter. My personal feels are of course separate from my business," Svaar Vinje, owner of Knights Chamber and Knights Menswear said.

Prior to this mandate, Vinje left the mask-wearing up to the customer, but now that’s changed.

"We live in a health community so the question is do we provide more services online or do we provide more services in-house? Or do we do more curbside? You just have to adjust and pivot and figure out what you can do to service your clients," Vinje said.

And this is what Vinje wants to tell city leaders.

"Show us the numbers and show us how this is going to help us, not just a blanket statement saying you need to do this to be safe, the question is, how is this going to make us safe," Vinje said.

Across town is Hot Chip Burger Bar and they say they are not worried about enforcing the mask mandate.

"I feel like we got used to wearing masks before, so it really didn’t come as too much of a surprise," Roxy Zubay, a manager at Hot Chip Burger Bar said.

The staff here saw this announcement coming, and they say, for the most part, people are complying.

"If they’re not wearing one, we give them a friendly reminder, hey this is a mandate, it’s required to wear one indoors, usually people are nice about it," Zubay said.

They believe city leaders made the right move.

"As much as it might be a hassle to wear a mask, if it’s keeping more people safe, I’m all for it. I trust that they have our best interests at heart," David Riedel, kitchen manager said.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton’s declaration of local emergency lasts until February 7th.

I was curious to see what other cities in our area thought about the Rochester mask mandate and if they would implement ones themselves. Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. tells ABC 6 NEWS the City of Albert Lea is not looking at a mask mandate at this time.