Louisville bar owner asks fully vaccinated customers to show proof to go maskless

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 4:27 PM EDT
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A Louisville bar will ask customers who say they are fully vaccinated to show proof before...
A Louisville bar will ask customers who say they are fully vaccinated to show proof before entering without a mask on.(WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Businesses are coming up with new plans after mask mandates by the CDC changed for fully vaccinated people.

Jeremy Johnson, the owner of downtown Louisville cocktail bar Meta, said while he is glad to see the change, he wishes he had been given more of a heads up to make a plan. He told WAVE 3 News he called an impromptu meeting with his staff to talk about the changes.

“It’s a difficult time to make sure you keep workers right now,” Johnson said. “So I’m not going to do anything to put them in a place of being uncomfortable.”

He said his staff members are all fully vaccinated. One of the bartenders said she would continue to wear her mask, as she has a weaker immune system, Johnson said.

The bar owner and staff decided to require proof of being fully vaccinated if someone does not want to wear a mask. Johnson told WAVE 3 News he’s tired of fighting people.

“With some of the issues we’ve had with guests you know getting in our face and being rude,” he said. “And it’s not all guests, it’s just a few, but it’s enough that we’re on edge and to make a big change like that at the last minute was a difficult change to weather.”

The signs on the door outside Meta on Friday afternoon were clear about mask-wearing: face masks were required to enter the building. Johnson said he will be replacing the signs with another clear message: “no shirt, no shoes, no vax card, no dice.”

The bar started requiring proof of being fully vaccinated Thursday night.

“For the people that didn’t have their vax card on them, they were understanding and the fact of the matter is, you know, you’re allowed to take your mask off at your seat anyway,” he said. “So it’s really not that much of an inconvenience, you know? If we’re having you wear your mask to go to the bathroom, I don’t see how it’s that big of a deal.”

Some restaurants are no longer requiring customers to wear masks while dining in, while others plan to require all customers to wear masks for a while.

Johnson told WAVE 3 News he hopes people will be kind and understand businesses are adapting just like everyone else.

“The best thing anyone can take from listening to business owners talk about this is to please be patient. You know? We’ve been dealt a completely unpredictable, unexpected, unprecedented year and we’re just trying to figure out how to do it.”

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