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'If they feel safe', Businesses decide to keep or lose the mask mandate

“I think we’re still not done with the virus. I think the virus is still going on,” said employee Amit Bulchandani.

ST. CHARLES PARISH, La. — At Coffee &... in Norco, coffee is hot, beignets are sweet, and masks are optional. 

“Pretty much leaving it up to the customers and the employees,” said owner Cheryl Deleon.  “If they want to wear it and they feel safer for wearing it then that’s fine. 

Deleon is one of many business owners in St. Charles Parish who had to decide whether to put a policy on the menu Wednesday morning. That’s when the statewide mandate ended, leaving the decision up to local governments and business owners.

In St. Charles Parish the mandate ended with the states. 

“Most of the customers that came in for lunch today, I would say maybe five percent wore a mask, everybody else came in, no mask,” said Deleon. 

Signs that once mandated a mask, were pulled down. 

“We had one on every door and on the window, but yeah, it felt good,” said Deleon.

Down the road just seven miles in Laplace, the sign to mask up is still on the door at Southern Stylz.

“I think we’re still not done with the virus. I think the virus is still going on,” said employee Amit Bulchandani.

Even though St. John the Baptist Parish lifted the mandate Bulchandani said he’s not comfortable taking down that sign just yet. 

“We’re still going to continue doing it and keep our store, our customers safe and our employees safe,” said Bulchandani.

In announcing the mandate would end, Governor John Bel Edwards urged folks to be respectful of individual policies and stressed that masks are still recommended. For shoppers at Southern Stylz, it’ll be a requirement for now.

“Until we feel like it’s safe then we’re going to do it but right now we’re going to continue doing it like the city of New Orleans is doing it, I think everybody should do it,” said Bulchandani.

Back at Coffee &..., a lot of business is being done through the drive-through, helping to ease concerns about masking. Deleon said although optional, masks will still be part of customer service. 

“If they feel safe, then that’s fine. If they ask the employee to put one on that’s fine too. Whatever they want, we’re here to serve them,” said Deleon.

Service that helps keep the registers going after a year of worry.

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