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As the mask mandate is lifted, businesses have different strategies

Whether vaccinated or not, you no longer have to wear a mask when doing things like grocery shopping or enjoying a movie.
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:32 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Tuesday was a big day for people in Michigan. Whether vaccinated or not, you no longer have to wear a mask when doing things like grocery shopping or enjoying a movie.

After a year of having limited capacity in the movie theaters, places like celebration cinema are excited to finally pack the house. Emily Loeks is Director of Community Affairs for Celebration Cinema.

“This is a pivotal turning point for our whole industry,” Leoks said. “The big movies are coming and we’re really glad the capacity restrictions and all the restrictions of the past year are being eased.”

Shirley Decker of Mert’s Meats says they’re lifting the mask requirements for their customers, however, they’ll still be following COVID-19 protocols with their employees.

“We know this isn’t over,” Decker said. “Our employees when we talked to them-- my son went to everyone and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ They said, ‘We want to keep wearing our masks.’”

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said, “I think a lot of people think it’s over. There’s still cases. Of course there’s still concern there will still be cases in the fall-- especially if we don’t reach that level of immunity that well help us keep it contained.”

While the light may be visible at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic, Vail says we need to continue to protect those who can’t be vaccinated, like children and pre-teens.

“Herd immunity isn’t about—'OK everybody got vaccinated so they can’t get sick.’ Herd immunity is about protecting those who cannot get vaccinated and creating that protection around them,” Vail said.

Even though Mert’s Meats and Celebration Cinemas have different policies for their employees, they’re both excited to see smiling faces on their customers.

“A lot of customers were happy they didn’t have to wear masks,” Decker said. “I don’t think it’s an issue, I think customers can make up their own mind.” Loeks said, “We are so thankful to see our friends and neighbors returning. We’re just looking forward to what’s ahead.”

After a search for businesses still requiring masks for customers-- we only found a few who wouldn’t go on camera.

The Ingham County Health Department says they’re highly encouraged by the low COVID-19 numbers and hope people will continue to get vaccinated.

Businesses still reserve the right to require masks and other COVID-19 measures for their customers regardless of state orders.

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