Businesses wait for impact of loosened COVID-19 restrictions in Indiana

Businesses wait for impact of loosened COVID-19 restrictions in Indiana

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - April 6 marks the day the Indiana mandate will be over, and the masks can come off.

It’s happening as Indiana’s COVID numbers are going up, but Gov. Eric Holcomb announced two weeks ago he would not be extending the state mask mandate. Since then, Indiana has been actively rolling back restrictions.

Families like the Bridgewaters like to take strolls in downtown Jeffersonville to the Red Yeti, a neighborhood staple. The pair told WAVE 3 News the restaurant has become a sanctuary during the pandemic.

Pamela Bridgewater said despite the mandate becoming an advisory Tuesday, she plans to keep her mask on when going out.

“Both my husband and I will continue to wear our masks, even if it’s not required in establishments,” she said.

However, depending on how businesses are handling the mask advisory, it may cost some of the Bridgewaters’ favorite restaurants their bottom dollar.

“I can tell you if we see a place where there aren’t any masks, we’re going to think twice about going in,” she said. “We’ll probably just head out and go someplace else.”

Pamela Bridgewater’s opinion is where a lot of restaurant and business managers and owners are finding themselves stuck in the middle. Red Yeti Service Manager Nick Nevels told WAVE 3 News that hospitality truly is key.

Even if people don’t wear masks, Holcomb’s advisory states it’s up to the establishment to make sure there are safety measures in place, like tables spaced apart and masked employees. A business can also require guests to wear masks.

“Unless there’s a state mandate, it’s going to be really tough to put them on,” Nevels said. “We can only do that so long until we start watching them go to our competitors.”

Last week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said he would personally talk to Holcomb if the Indiana state mask mandate would not be extended for fear of its impact on Kentucky. However, in Beshear’s press conference on Monday, he did not mention any possible conversation with Holcomb.

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