Restaurant owners question new mask mandate
Many restaurant owners say they want people to know that the mandate is not coming from them.
Staff at Innovo Kitchen in Latham are back wearing masks again, as they did for months earlier in the pandemic.
The owner, out of frustration, sent a meme in an email blast. He later apologized if he offended anyone, but he says the new mandate makes no sense.
"So I’m going to put my mask on, I’m going to walk into my restaurant, I’m going to walk 25 feet, I’m going to take my mask off, I’m going to sit down and be two, three feet from people sitting next to me who I have no idea who they are, and I’m going to sit there for two to three hours and eat dinner," said John LaPosta.
Here at Innovo Kitchen in Latham, staff is back to wearing masks again. Customers are wearing them as they walk in. It’s the first day of the new statewide mask mandate in NY. Hear from business owners tonight on Channel 13. @WNYT pic.twitter.com/8i0mVFC6az— Kumi (@KumiTuckerWNYT) December 13, 2021
Businesses can choose whether to have everyone wear masks, or require proof of vaccination. It’s not mix and match. They can’t do a combination.
"We thought about it," said LaPosta. "It was a hard decision, but I am not responsible to make sure everybody is vaccinated. It’s not my job. If I wanted that job, I’d run for governor."
The mask mandate applies to any indoor space that is not a private home, including office buildings, stores, and churches.
At Innovo, they’re keeping the patio open with heaters.
They’ve been taking safety precautions here and take pride in having been very cautious.
“We did this all once,” said LaPosta. “We actually had two staff members come to me today and say I can’t do this, and they’ve taken a leave of absence until they can get out of the masks. I mean, they’re all fully vaccinated.”
The governor says the mandate is more protection at a time when the number of COVID cases is up.
There’s also the matter of enforcement. The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, for example, said Monday the public health department and law enforcement will not enforce what they called “the state’s misguided and unrealistic mask mandate.”