Mask on or mask off: Store owners facing difficult decision after mask mandate ends on June 11

Shopping masks
Posted at 4:24 PM, May 18, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — When June 11 arrives and we’re all allowed to ditch the masks inside and outside, whether we’re vaccinated or not, store owners will be treading on a thin layer of ice. And in June, that layer will be very thin.

“Some store may decide to keep the mask mandate beyond June 11 and that’s their decision to make,” said Steve McClain from the Kentucky Retail Federation in Frankfort.

One shop owner tells LEX-18 she is dreading having to make this decision because as she said, there is no right or wrong answer. Either choice will anger one-half of her client base.

Connie Shepherd, a teacher from Laurel County, will have no issue with whatever is decided by the places where she shops.

“I will continue to wear my mask, for the safety of others,” she said while noting that the mask has kept her from catching any type of virus or bacterial infection since last March.

“Haven’t been sick a day,” she said proudly. “No flu. No strep.”

But others will view that as being a mere coincidence, and will not be happy if the stores they frequent still require masks after Governor Beshear says it is okay to go without.

“That is a concern because we’ve seen the videos from the last year of people yelling at employees,” McClain said of those who are against mask-wearing.

Fayette Mall continues to adhere to state guidelines, and it sounds as if CBL & Associates, which owns the mall, will allow its tenants to make their own decisions following June 11.

“Some retailers will still require customers to wear masks in order to enter their store,” spokeswoman Sarah Robinson wrote as part of a statement concerning Mall policy.

Several Lexington locations, including Total Wine and More, are already subscribing to the honor policy, allowing those who’ve been vaccinated to drop their masks inside. Target is also doing that across the nation. And Joseph-Beth Bookstore in the Lexington Green, we’re told, will coordinate its post-June 11 plan with other locations in the region.

McClain then noted many stores that are certain to maintain the mask order, given their line of business.

“Walgreen’s or Kroger places where you have pharmacies,” McClain said, before acknowledging the Kroger Little Clinic, where people are being treated/diagnosed with various illnesses, daily.