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Despite updated NYS guidance, most store shoppers, workers still wearing masks

Managers say the honor system will be in place for determining vaccination status.

WEST SENECA, N.Y. — The shopping scene, at first glance, looked the same Wednesday at the Tops store on Harlem Road in West Seneca.

Just about everyone had their masks in place on their face until we encountered the unmasked manager. He pointed out the retail chain has fully adopted the posted policy as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules that if you're fully vaccinated, you do not need a mask in their store. 

Tops store manager Joe Salay told 2 on Your Side, "Most people are still wearing a mask, and as for store employees, again, that follows store policy that if you're fully vaccinated, you don't need a mask."  

Salay admits it's been a bit of a struggle in the past to make sure everyone was masked, but he says the vast majority cooperated. 

We did see that Tops still has postings and floor markings for shoppers to stay properly spaced, and there are plastic shields still in place at store registers along with sanitation supplies. 

Wegmans, which did not allow us in, is following a similar masking policy. They were concerned that there would be confusion in their stores on this first day of the new policy. 

We found out that with other retailers or salons or gyms the masking policy can vary now, as it's under their control. 

Fitness 19 Manager Chet Dine says, "If you're vaccinated, then you don't need to wear your mask, and I'm realizing that I can see lots of smiling faces."

Dine added: "Communication hasn't been the greatest throughout this whole situation. We try to figure out what to do. You kind of watch other people, see what they are doing and then see what somebody else is doing."

Dine did say this about the honor system with his gym clients.

"We do have a little leeriness if people are actually vaccinated. But most people have been good, and they even show us their vaccination card to prove it," Dine said.

Kimberly Hanzlian, who runs a sausage business, told us, "Inside our store, because we have a small storefront, we really have to make sure that people are wearing masks because we can't do much with the distancing." 

Again, the vast majority of shoppers and retail staffers we encountered Wednesday were still wearing masks. Some were not aware of the new state policy allowing no masks for someone who is fully vaccinated. 

Some told us wearing a mask in a store or some other inside business has become a habit and they will choose to continue wearing them for now as it makes them more comfortable.