Business owners share mixed reactions on tougher mask mandate

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina is toughening its mask mandate, requiring people to wear face coverings in all public indoor facilities.

The new mandate has been met with a mix of responses.

Most of the conversation centers around the fact that masks must be worn in gyms while working out along with restaurants, unless people are eating.

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“I think the initial reaction is that it’s kind of weird, but at the same time, deep down, everyone realizes it’s what’s going to keep people safe,” said Brett Oliverio, the owner of Sup Dogs in Greenville.

Oliverio doesn’t think the new restrictions will affect his restaurant.

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“I think masks are going to keep people wanting to come here,” said Oliverio. “If people don’t feel safe, they aren’t going to come out of their house.”

Other business owners aren’t so sure.

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“We’ve had people join with us just because we didn’t make them wear a mask,” said Greg Lassiter, owner of Champions Health & Fitness in Winterville. “I don’t think it helps our business any.”

Lassiter’s gym has been open since June 1. Since then, over 1,600 people have walked through the business’ doors. The gym has only seen one positive reported case of COVID-19, Lassiter said.

Lassiter said the numbers speak for themselves, but he’ll do what it takes to stay open.

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“We just don’t want to close,” said Lassiter. “We’re willing to do whatever we need to do to stay open for our people because people need us and we need them.”

When it comes to enforcement, Gov. Roy Cooper’s order says police and deputies will be able to issue citations to businesses that don’t follow the order.

To read the full Executive Order, click here.

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