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Erie County businesses adapt to mask mandate policy

On Tuesday, Erie County announced a county-wide mask mandate for all indoor public places

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The return to masking indoor public places in Erie County hasn't necessarily been an easy adjustment for businesses - but now it's a mandatory adjustment.

Uncle Joe's Diner in Hamburg is doing its best to stay open and adjust but owner Michael Gargano admits the quick turnaround has been somewhat challenging. 

"It is difficult at times," Gargano said. "We do have a hard time with certain customers sometimes with them not wanting to wear masks."

Per the county guidelines, people can take their masks off inside only when eating and or drinking while seated.

"You have to wear a mask at all times when you're not seated. So you can go to the bathroom, with a mask. If you get up to cash out, you have to wear a mask," Gargano emphasized.

While Gargano says he has his own thoughts on the mask mandate policy, as a business owner he's willing to do whatever necessary to stay open.

"It's much better than being shut down, that's for sure," Gargano said.

Some other businesses, like Mister Goodbar in the Elmwood Village, are voluntarily taking matters into their own hands by enforcing vaccine mandates. Owner Bobby Rabb tells 2 On Your Side, "from an operational and safety standpoint it's what we decided was best for our establishment."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Monday that if numbers continue to spike, even with the mask mandate in place, the county will seriously consider moving forward with phase two of their plan - a vaccine mandate.