Duluth businesses react to end of city-wide mask mandate

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As Duluth’s mask mandate gears up to expire on Saturday, local businesses are now facing the individual decision of whether to require masking or not.

On Wednesday, businesses in the Fitger’s complex saying that they weren’t surprised with the mayor’s decision to let the mandate expire, and having that guidance from the city is important for their internal decision making.

"How we’ve operated in the past has just been to go with what the guidance is, so we’ll continue to do that," said Sam Brueggeman, the assistant manager at Trail Fitters. "We aren’t overly concerned about it, it’s kind of part of the ups and downs of the pandemic."

Brueggeman saying that over the past month, he hasn’t felt business was impacted from the 30-day mandate.

"We have great customers, we have loyal customers. We haven’t noticed a big issue with people not coming in. With the mandate expiring, we’ll let staff know that it’s their choice, and customers that it’s their choice."

The manager of Duluth Kitchen Co. echoing a similar sentiment — preparing to leave the choice of masking up to the customers and staff once the mandate expires.

"With staff, I’ve always left it up to them and what they want to do and what they decide to do," said Jen Germain. "We actually have a lot of people who do want to wear masks in the first place. And I’m sure there will be a couple of us that will go back to not wearing masks again which is, again, 100% their decision."

St. Luke’s Hospital releasing a statement Wednesday, saying that while they don’t believe a mask mandate is necessary at this time, they strongly support vaccination, social distancing, hand washing, and masking.