Dayton businesses, residents react to possible indoor mask mandate

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — On Wednesday, the City of Dayton will vote on an ordinance requiring face coverings to be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status. The vote will follow Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County’s recommendation for municipal governments to reinforce mask mandates after a continued spike in cases.

“I don’t understand what that big issue is. The issue is that we’re trying to keep everyone safe, and that’s what’s important,” said Tina McPhearson, who lives in Montgomery County.

“Will it work 100% of the time, every time? Not necessarily, but it’s similar to seatbelts. Even though you’re wearing a seatbelt, it may not work 100% of the time, but it works most of the time and it is effective,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

If the ordinance passes, the mandate would apply to everyone six years old and older, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

“Although we don’t like wearing masks, I think it’s important to wear them. No one seems to bark at all when it says you have to wear a shirt and shoes into a restaurant, so I’m all for it,” McPhearson said.

“I’m against it because I think people that are not vaccinated should wear a mask indoors, and people who are vaccinated should have a choice,” said Victoria Grimes, who lives in Montgomery County.

Some business owners said they’re concerned with a rise in cases but not by a possible mask mandate.

“We’re not concerned about the mask mandate whatsoever. I think the American people are working together and are willing to accommodate one another to share their dining experience with all of the local restaurants in the community,” said David DeHart, the executive chef for Franco’s Italian restaurant.

DeHart said business at Franco’s is up about 45 percent since the start of the pandemic. Newer business owners at Varsity House Choice Juice Box said their business is also growing rapidly.

“We opened the doors as the covid mandates began, so we’ve been growing the whole time. We haven’t really seen the negative impact from it,” said Darrell Wilson, the co-owner of Varisty House Choice Juice Box.

Some people who frequently dine-in said they don’t think the mandate will cause any significant issues.

“I do think things will slow down a little bit, but I have no concerns about wearing a mask so I can go out and enjoy things with family friends and beverages,” Bruce Foster said.

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