How Raleigh businesses are enforcing the mask mandate

Monday, August 16, 2021
How Raleigh businesses are enforcing the mask mandate
Some businesses said customers have been considerate, while others told different stories.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh Police Department officials said they haven't cited anyone for violating the mask mandate, which went into effect Friday. It appears the enforcement is pretty much left up to businesses.

The Rialto Theatre in Five Points has voluntarily kept capacity at 50%, blocking off rows of seats for social distancing.

They've strongly encouraged masks and when Raleigh's mask mandate was reinstated, the theatre put up signs reminding people to mask up.

Rialto Theatre owner Bill Peebles said they haven't had problems with patrons following the mask mandate.

"I think our audience is very considerate and they remove the mask to consume food and beverage only," Peebles said. "And even if they fail to put it back on, we're not going to police it. That's not our place but we do have seven feet of social distancing per chunk between rows."

The theatre also has special filters for enhanced air circulation.

But Precious Cole, who works at a fast food restaurant in Durham, said some customers have still been going in without masks.

Durham County also has a mask mandate in effect. Cole said her company's policy is not to ask people to put their masks on.

"We really can't say anything to them," Cole said. "We just have to pray to God that they are vaccinated, and that they don't have (COVID)."

She feels some people aren't taking the pandemic seriously.

"We are out here to serve you," Cole said. "Granted without customers, I would not have a job, but also without us, you wouldn't have a fast food restaurant, to come to every day, every night, that's open until one, two o'clock in the morning. So, why wouldn't you be considerate and put on a mask for five seconds, order your food, and take it out and then you can take your mask off."

Cole was notified Monday that four workers inside her store, including her, were exposed to COVID-19. She is planning to get tested.

Cole is concerned and unaware of where the exposure came from.

Not all businesses are embracing the mask mandate. The Vault, a downtown Raleigh sports apparel store, has a sign saying masks are prohibited there. ABC11 tried to contact the store's owner for further comment but was unable to reach them.

It's important to check where you live or where you are visiting to see if they have a mask mandate in place since different cities and municipalities may have different protocols.

In Wake County, Raleigh and Cary have announced mask mandates (Cary's will take effect Wednesday). But Wake Forest, Apex and Fuquay-Varina all are just encouraging masks--not mandating them.