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Will some Austin businesses drop requirements once the mask mandate ends next week?

Business owners said enforcing the mask mandate has been difficult.

AUSTIN, Texas — The CDC recommendation to loosen mask requirements indoors and outdoors has business operators ready to remove their mask rules, but Austin still has a mask mandate in effect. 

"I can't wait for the day I can do an interview without a mask on," said Mt.Playmore Director of Operations Diedre Frazier-Hunt. 

That day could come very soon. On Thursday, the CDC released new recommendations stating fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing masks outside and inside most places. 

Frazier-Hunt said she's looking forward to the City's mask mandate expiring Tuesday because it hasn't been easy to enforce. 

"You know, it's funny. It hasn't been as hard with children as it has been with adults," said Frazier-Hunt. "You know, mask-wearing has been a very polarizing event in our country, and we just look forward to the day where it's a non-issue." 

Just up the road, the co-owner of Manuel's restaurant, Jennifer McNevin, is also hoping Austin Public Health safely loosens social distance and mask rules soon.

"Everyone is ready to be done with the masks," said McNevin. "It's been a very difficult year navigating all of this, especially for restaurants. We are looking forward to getting public confidence back."

Not everyone is jumping for joy. 

"As a parent, it frustrates me," said mom of three Kelly Billiot. "Just because I am fully vaccinated and the other person is not and say that they are and it's kind of word of mouth and trusting the person next to you, I'd rather just wear my mask to protect others." 

Some big box stores like Macy's, Walgreens, CVS and Target plan to keep their mask requirements for now. Simon Property Group will still require shoppers and workers to wear masks.

Simon operates locations at The Domain, Barton Creek Square Mall, Round Rock Outlets and San Marcos Outlets.


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