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Businesses take different approaches to masks without mandate

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 7:58 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - While Eau Claire County businesses don’t have to force people to wear masks, that doesn’t mean some are stilling requiring customers and staff to mask up inside.

Eau Claire City Council and Eau Claire County Board members repealed the countywide mask mandate Tuesday. It allows, but doesn’t require, businesses make masks optional.

“We are strongly encouraging those who are not vaccinated to still wear their mask while in the store for the safety of others,” Tangled up in Hue Manager Sarah Hammes-Murray said.

She admits staff have no way of checking if someone is vaccinated but hopes people will mask up if they haven’t gotten their shot.

No every retailer is giving customers a choice. At Menards, people who aren’t fully vaccinated must put on a face covering inside the store.

“We still encourage everyone to wear a mask but certainly those that are vaccinated can come on in without a mask. Our team members are going to continue, just out of an abundance of caution, to wear a mask,” Menards Eau Claire West General Manager Kyle Krause said.

He said the store is using the honor system for maskless customers.

Multiple businesses told WEAU they’re undecided on their mask policy and are discussing how to proceed since the mandate’s been repealed.

Several stores in Eau Claire County also told WEAU they are stilling requiring masks. Altoona Police Officer Timothy Peterson said that means people who refuse to wear a mask in those businesses can be asked to leave.

“If you do not leave, then technically you are trespassing,” he said. “At that point, police can be notified to come handle a trespassing complaint.”

Peterson said Altoona Police have dealt with multiple recent incidents involving people refusing to wear masks in private businesses.

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