This story was been updated to include Vernetti Restaurant.
The Center for Yoga posted on Instagram today that they are no longer requiring students to wear masks in their classes.
“We are still requiring students to be vaccinated, but we are no longer requiring that masks be worn indoors,” Diana Buckhantz told the Buzz today when we checked in to see how some our local businesses are reacting to the news that Los Angeles County is relaxing the indoor mask requirements as of Friday, March 4. “We always said we would follow the County’s guidelines. We checked with our teachers and everyone was enthusiastic about taking off the masks,” added Buckhantz.
However, some business owners are holding back and waiting to see how events play out. David Rhodes of Rhodes School of Music told the Buzz he is still asking his staff to wear masks for the near term.
“I usually delay implementing a new policy for a week or two after the County makes an announcement so we can ease changes in and see what happens,” said Rhodes. “We are asking students to remain masked in our studio sessions because those spaces are very small and we are still checking vaccinations.”
The recent announcement relaxing most masking mandates is good news, but like most aspects of COVID compliance, it also presents challenges for small business owners, especially those businesses that don’t always fit exactly within the county’s business categories.
“We don’t exactly fit the definition of a school so it’s tricky for us to figure out which guidelines to follow,” explained Rhodes.
The county is allowing businesses to set their own policies and that puts the burden on small businesses that don’t want to alienate potential customers who may have strong opinions.
“We always try to avoid controversy with our customers,” said Todd Warner, owner of Tailwaggers Pet Supplies. “We will continue to follow all the city and county guidelines. Masks will not be required to enter into the store but we highly recommend them,” added Warner, noting that masks do help protect those people who are vulnerable.
Chevalier’s Books told the Buzz that it will continue to require masks because the store has some vulnerable staff and customers who are children not yet eligible for vaccines.
“We also aren’t able to stop people and ask for vaccination information so we never know the vaccination status of someone in the store. People just stream in and out of the store, ” explained Katie Orphan, manager of Chevalier’s Books. “For now, we are going to stick with our mask requirement inside the store.”
We also checked with several other service businesses including realtors, who told us there were still trying to sort out what to do in their offices.
“We are literally in the process of figuring it out ourselves,” said Sandy Nasser, owner and founder of Melrose Mac.
Restaurants have been dealing with masking and vaccination requirements for months and many still require masks but allow customers to remove them while they are eating.
Great White restaurant owner Sam Trude told us, “we are having a meeting Friday to discuss with all staff to see if they are comfortable removing them. If so we will do so.”
“We are following the city,” Steve Vernetti owner of Vernetti Restaurant told the Buzz after this story was originally posted. “We are leaving the choice up to our staff and not mandating to our customers. I figure most of the staff will transition to working maskless in their own time as the environment becomes more relaxed and when there is clarity coming from our city health department.”
Vernetti will continue to follow the city’s rules, including asking for proof of vaccination for their indoor dining, but masks will be optional for dining indoors.
Thanks to Steve Vernetti, who got back to us after this story was posted. We will continue to update you as we get more information from our local business community. Feel free to share any information you have with us in the comments section or on our social media. The new order takes effect on Friday.