Santa Clara County business owners react to continuation of mask mandate

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) – The only county in the Bay Area not easing mask mandates is Santa Clara County.

The public health department there says COVID cases and hospitalizations need to be lower before that can happen.

It’s a decision that has many in the community up in arms.

Business owners in Santa Clara County say that keeping the mask mandate doesn’t make sense when other counties with bigger populations are able to ease theirs.

When California announced that people could take their masks off indoors after Feb. 15 with proof of vaccine, many breathed a sigh of relief. But not in Santa Clara County.

“You can just see it and feel it. People are just kind of over it,” Mauricio Mejia said.

It’s the only county in the Bay Area where residents still need to mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Punch King Fitness owner Mauricio Mejia says the decision by the county health officer is causing his gym members to take their business elsewhere.

“In the last week in a half, we’ve had cancellations or people who have put their memberships on hold because they just don’t know and they are just tired of not knowing and having the misdirection that they are getting,” Mejia said .

At Faded Barber Shop in San Jose, Owner Vicki Reynolds says businesses are booming because she’s been giving customers the choice to keep masks on or off, regardless of the mandate.

“We’re going to be losing our freedoms if people don’t fight and say no I’m not going to wear a mask,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds says the County Health Department has reached out several times threatening to shut down her shop if she doesn’t enforce masking.

She doesn’t plan to change her policy anytime soon.

Confused as to why people can take their masks off when seated at a restaurant, but not when seated in her barber chair.

“I’ve allowed people to make their own decisions because it makes no sense that you go to a host stand you wear your mask and you take it off to sit down to eat. But yet we’re a barber shop, we’re doing beards eyebrows but yet we have to keep the mask on and have them hold the mask while we provide the service. This makes no sense,” Reynolds said.

The Santa Clara Public Health Departments says the county is doing well with vaccinations and that they are seeing encouraging trends with cases and hospitalizations, but they still aren’t where they need to be to remove the mask mandate.

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