Changes to CDC guidance on masks leads to tough decisions for Oklahoma City businesses


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The new guidance from the CDC that fully vaccinated people are safe going maskless indoors and outdoors is leading to tricky decisions for local business owners.

Some are still requiring masks for now to protect their employees.

2020 served up more than a pint of problems for bar and restaurant owners, but now, drinks are flowing a bit more freely at Oak & Ore Gastropub and Restaurant.

“It’s been challenging but we’re super excited about numbers going down, vaccinations going up so we’re definitely excited to see light at the end of the tunnel and our regulars getting back out to come see us,” said Oak & Ore owner Micah Andrews. 

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Though the CDC has loosened masking guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated – it’s left business owners like Micah Andrews in a bit of a pickle – as his whole staff is not fully-vaccinated yet.

“So it’s really important for me as an owner, first and foremost, to make sure my staff is taken care of,” Andrews said. “It’s definitely challenging because we can’t check vaccination cards at the door and we’re not going to ask customers to do that.”

Though he can’t see if you’ve been vaccinated, he can see a mask – and how full his restaurant is.

So, he’s still requiring masks when customers are not seated – and only opening Oak & Ore at around 60% capacity.

“Customers have been great, generally, so I think they understand that even those that may not understand initially, are understanding when we explain our situation,” Andrews said. 

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Andrews says most restaurant and bar owners he’s talked with have taken a similar approach – talking to their employees and basing decisions on what’s best for them and those they serve.

“Because it’s really not a black-and-white decision. It’s just figuring out what’s best for that staff and that restaurant,” Andrews said. “So everybody is doing everything a little bit different but it’s heartening to hear that they’re doing what they feel is best for their staff and their customers.”

Andrews says it won’t be too much longer until his full staff is fully-vaccinated and he will re-evaluate protocols then.

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