Local restaurant plans to stay open despite possible mask ordinance
COLUMBIA – As local businesses continue to reopen, some may be faced with a new obstacle if a mask mandate becomes reality.
On Friday, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece announced that an ordinance requiring masks in all public settings could possibly be put into place soon. This response comes after COVID-19 cases have been increasing throughout Missouri and in Boone County.
Having to wear masks while inside poses a unique challenge to restaurants downtown like Main Squeeze. Since reopening, Main Squeeze managers say it has been successful through offering both dine-in and carry-out options while not requiring customers to wear masks.
“Right now, all of the employees are wearing masks. We don’t require customers to wear masks, but we do recommend it,” said manager Haley Reinhart.
Reinhart explained how most of Main Squeeze’s business comes from carry-out orders, but customers are also able to enjoy limited seating in the dining room.
Even though the possibility of a mask ordinance could threaten business, Reinhart said she acknowledges the importance of wearing them.
“I personally think that we should all wear masks just because I think it’s a common courtesy to other humans and making sure that you’re being responsible and keeping them safe.”
She also believes the mask ordinance would be an obstacle that Main Squeeze is capable of overcoming.
“The owner has been able to keep Main Squeeze running for 23 years through tons of different challenges so I don’t think a pandemic will be taking her down any time soon,” she said.
Like many other local businesses, Reinhart said Main Squeeze has successfully adapted to serving its customers while following health and safety guidelines. She said that's why she believes the popular cafe will be resilient– even in the wake of new challenges.
“The community is very, very supportive and very loyal. As long as people still keep coming in we will still be open. I don’t think we will be closing any time soon.”