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'It's encouraged though not enforced' | How businesses are handling reinstated mask mandate in Winston-Salem

The city put the emergency order into effect for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated Friday because of rising COVID cases.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Vaccinated or not masks are now required inside public buildings in Winston-Salem.  

The city put the emergency order into effect Friday because of rising cases of COVID-19.  

Saturday was the first full day of the reinstated order.  

Some businesses in downtown Winston-Salem said they aren’t forcing folks to wear masks or turning shoppers away. 

They’re looking for voluntary compliance.  

You couldn’t miss the mask-required signs plastered in and outside of businesses along Fourth Street downtown.  

Once shoppers at Washington Perk and Provision grocery store saw the mask up even if fully vaccinated sign, they followed suit before entering.  

Employee Evan Lavack said others stopped in their tracks and turned around.  

"They never picked a fight about still having to wear mask they would politely leave," Lavack said. 

He said it hasn’t had a negative impact on business, and the city made the right decision.

"We’re still in the middle of a pandemic I think that’s something people are not fully realizing because of the lifts that we had for some of our mandates," Lavack said. 

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Posted by City of Winston-Salem, NC - Government on Friday, August 20, 2021

At Mast General Store, shoppers were met at the entrance with a box of masks and hand sanitizer.   

"So far, we’ve had a pretty good response we do provide free masks for anyone not wearing one," store manager Will Morris said. "It's encouraged though not enforced. We like everyone to wear one, but understand those who can't." 

Morris said since the first mandate folks have been on different sides of the cloth.   

"You just take it with a grain of salt and just try to be as helpful and safe for my family and then try to pass on that good vibe for anyone who comes through the door," he said.

There are the usual exceptions for medical or religious reasons.

There is no expiration date for the emergency order. Mayor Allen Joines said he’ll determine that at a later date.

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