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Restaurant Association president says possibility of new mask mandate not good for business

File Photo / WBFO News

As new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Erie County, talk of a new indoor mask policy for unvaccinated and vaccinated people is making the rounds. Wednesday, County Executive Mark Poloncarz said a requirement could come this week.

For restaurant owner and Restaurant Association Chapter President Jimmy Butera, another mask mandate brings up memories of last year’s struggles of maintaining his business amidst the worst of the pandemic.

“It’s alarming that we're talking about it,” he said. “It's really frustrating as a business owner, to have to think about what the repercussions are going to be if this continues to go up.”

A labor shortage, Butera said, spans most industries and only adds to the woes facing restaurateurs.

“We've been knocked down with being shut down and restricted with mandates,” he said. “Now that we're back on our feet, you know, we're still being kicked down with that shortage.”

The Center for Disease Control has already assigned mask mandates in areas of the country that are in the significant transmission zone. As of Thursday, Erie County remains in the moderate increase zone.

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