Evansville bars react to mask advisory

Evansville bars react to mask advisory

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Indiana’s mask mandate is gone, but a mask advisory is now in place.

Where do you have to wear a mask? The short answer is in government buildings, at COVID testing and vaccination sites and in schools.

But what about stores and restaurants? According to state and local leaders, that call is in the hands of business owners.

[RELATED: Mask policies now up to Tri-State business owners]

If a business still wants you to wear a mask, you’re required to. If they say no masks, you can enter without one.

One customer tells us this does not change much for her. She says she is going to continue doing what makes her comfortable, and right now that means wearing a mask even if it’s not required.

Restaurant porches are packed as people have dinner, drinks and simply socialize at several places along Franklin Street.

“Even when I am at home, I don’t even realize that I have it on,” said Erin Tomlinson. “My friend will be like, ‘hey, you still have your mask on.’

While venturing out to visit local eateries, like Bokeh Lounge on Haynie’s Corner, you may notice new signage, including a shift in the language.

That is because businesses can now choose if it will enforce customer masking. Up until Monday, it was a mandate by Governor Holcomb and one that was in place since last July.

“It just, overall, makes me feel like I am still being secure even though they may have started the shots. I am still going to wear my mask,” explained Tomlinson.

Bokeh management says staff will keep with the masking but is letting customers make up their own minds on the measure. Wearing a mask is preferred, and social distancing should continue.

“I don’t really go out to bars as much anymore because of the crowd issues,” stated Tomlinson.

14 News reached out to a handful of other local restaurants and bars.

Bud’s, whose leaders run Time Out and soon to re-open Marina Pointe, responded. For them, they want customers to feel safe and says masking will come down to a personal choice.

“If I end up, for some reason, having to be in a crowded place, I normally stay to myself or my group of friends,” explained Tomlinson.

In terms of the legality of not wearing a mask inside a business that requires one, Evansville Police say if the owner asks you to leave because you’re not wearing a mask, then it becomes trespassing.

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