Some Charlotte businesses refuse mask mandate, others say it’s not their job to be “police”

Some Charlotte businesses refuse mask mandate, others say it’s not their job to be “police”
Some Charlotte businesses refuse mask mandate, others say it’s not their job to be “police”(WBTV)
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s the first full day of the city’s mask requirement. Until further notice, the city says you need a mask on inside anywhere in the city.

MORE: Indoor mask mandate begins in Charlotte, countywide mandate approved for all remaining towns in Mecklenburg

Businesses and customers feel like they’re repeating history. But some business owners say they aren’t giving in.

“At least this time I’ve been through it before...that’s the one positive,” said Blake Barnes who owns the Plaza Midwood Common Market. He says this mandate is frustrating because the burden of enforcement falls on the business owner.

“It was not in my business plan or any codebook that I had to be the police on anything,” he said.

And just because it’s a requirement, it doesn’t mean everyone is complying.

Down the street, Pure Pizza says they are not “health bouncers” and won’t be enforcing masks.

In a public Facebook post, Pure Pizza’s owner wrote “I gave our team the choice on what’s best for them. I give our customers a choice for what’s best for them. I’m pretty much PRO CHOICE on most all issues.”

Hive Fitness, a gym in South Charlotte, is making the same decision. They posted on Instagram saying “while we respect the decision of any persons who choose to wear masks, we maintain our position that our members are adults and should wear masks if it fits their needs/wants.”

Even businesses like Common Market, who are complying, say they’re not enforcing it strictly.

“We’re not going to get into a fist to cuff arguments over a mask,” Barnes said. “We’ll let them know in the future that we’d prefer you to wear a mask, it’s the rules. That’s where we are.”

The city says if customers don’t comply, businesses should call 911 and report those customers as trespassing. But that’s a difficult choice for owners looking for to recover business losses from the pandemic.

“I respect their decision. I’m about 70% doing it. I’m not 100% doing it. Like I said. We will not argue, we will not conflict. Because people have a right. I don’t agree but they have a right to do what they want to do,” Barnes said about choosing whether or not to wear a mask.

The owners of Hive Fitness and Pure Pizza did not respond to our requests for further comment.

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