Raleigh mayor considers changing parts of city's mask mandate

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Raleigh could alter its mask mandate soon, according to Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.

She told ABC11 that she has received several complaints from business owners who said they are losing customers to other towns without mandates.

"It got me thinking about what we're trying to achieve, and how we can find balance," she said.

Baldwin and other officials are expecting a bump in cases during the holidays, but she doesn't believe the case counts are spiking because of people working out or shopping at a small business.

"It's a really difficult thing to manage," she said. "We've never been through anything like this before, and I'm trying to find balance so people can lead healthy lifestyles but at the same time we don't want them to get COVID."

She is hoping to have something to look at by next week to in turn give to the city council.

"I want to look at the numbers, I want to look at the data," she said. "I don't want to be reactionary and I just have to say there are a lot of people on both sides who feel strongly."

Doug Warf, president of O2 Fitness, said he believes they can have all their clubs operate with no mask mandates.

He owns more than a dozen clubs in the state and several more in South Carolina. In the time they've been open, he said they've seen no outbreaks of any kind.

"We know we can do it safely," he said. "We wouldn't advocate for it if we didn't feel like we could. We've proven in our other locations."

He also said some members are either not coming back until the mandate is dropped or going to other clubs in other towns without mandates.

Sunny Miller owns Adara Spa on Peace Street and isn't entirely in favor of the mandate being dropped.

She said she's had no trouble enforcing it.

"What will be hard is the people who don't like the policy," she said. "Then they have the right not to come and patronize--that is their choice. But I need to do what I need to do to keep staff and clients safe."
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