Santa Barbara Co. business owners say enforcing mask mandate will be difficult

A mask mandate in the county goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m.
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Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 22:47:16-04

A county-wide mask mandate is set to take effect at the end of this week in Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says at the end of July, the county was in the "mist of another surge of COVID-19.”

Daily new cases increasing to more than 15 per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 7.2% are all being attributed to the Delta variant.

Due to the uptick, the health department confirmed a county-wide indoor mask mandate that will go into effect Friday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. regardless of vaccination status.

This means all county businesses will once again have to require customers to enter with a mask.

"If they enforce it I will abide and I'll do it but I think it's time that we get to move, in my personal opinion,” said Santa Maria Resident Jennifer Suchecki.

Business co-owner of Main St. Donuts Joe Perez says this isn't going to be easy for them.

"It's hard for us to enforce it, you know. To certain people, a lot of people understand and other people take it as an offense," Perez said.

Perez says last time mask mandates were enforced they struggled with people who refused to wear one.

"There was actually one person that we told and he got so pissed off that he just stormed off and kicked the door,” he said.

The owners say all employees will continue to wear a mask but they will let customers decide whether to wear one.

"If they feel comfortable enough not to wear it then that's on them but we are going to try not to enforce it as we did before,” Perez said.

This time, the new cases are being detected in the southern part of Santa Barbara County where earlier in the pandemic, a majority of the cases were in the northern part of the county.

According to health officials, everyone 2 years or older is required to wear a mask in all indoor public settings and shared workplaces regardless of vaccination status.

Santa Barbara County Public Health released a statement Wednesday in regards to the mask mandate saying in part:

“Requiring indoor masking is the least disruptive strategy and can make an immediate impact on limiting the spread of COVID-19, specifically the Delta variant."