Metro Detroit businesses weighing what to do next after state updates mask mandate

Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask beginning May 15

Businesses weighing Michiga's mask mandate changes

Michigan will be following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and lift the mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated starting Saturday, May 15.

Those who aren’t vaccinated are asked to mask up indoors.

Small businesses across Metro Detroit are weighing what to do next. At Studio One Salon in Rochester, owner Hillary Heacock is waiting on further guidelines from the state before she moves forward with taking the masks off.

READ: Metro Detroit businesses, school districts respond to Michigan’s updated mask mandate

READ: Guests no longer required to wear masks at Comerica Park

“This has just thrown a wrench in what we’re supposed to do,” Heacock said. “Do we get to stop the the temperature checking? Do we get to remove masks?”

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel said guidance will be coming shortly.

“We will have all our guidance updated by Tuesday (May 18) or Wednesday (May 19) next week,” Hertel said.

Some chains, like Trader Joe’s, are going mask-free starting Saturday, whereas other stores like Meijer said they will still be requiring them for now.

READ: Will vaccinated Metro Detroiters still mask up following state mask mandate revisions?

States, business sort out what new CDC mask guidance means

More than a dozen states quickly embraced new federal guidelines that say fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most cases. But other states and cities and some major businesses hesitated amid doubts about whether the approach is safe or even workable.

As many business owners pointed out, there is no easy way to determine who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t. And the new guidelines, issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, essentially work on the honor system, leaving it up to people to do the right thing.

Labor groups and others warned that employees at stores, restaurants, bars and other businesses could be left exposed to the coronavirus from customers and could be forced into the unwanted role of “vaccination police.”

But in Malvern, Pennsylvania, owner Sean Weinberg took down the mask signs Friday at Restaurant Alba, which he runs with his wife. He also emailed his employees to let them know they can forgo masks at work if they are fully vaccinated.

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About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.