Businesses having to re-enforce mask mandate after customers use ‘I’m vaccinated’ as reason to be without one

Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 10:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - While vaccinations continue to increase in Pima county, business owners are finding customers are using it as a reason to not wear a mask.

Sheila Merriman, who works at a store in the Catalina Foothills said it’s become a problem recently.

“They’re just saying their vaccinated thinking it’s going to get them into the door,” said Merriman.

Merriman has high-risk co-workers who haven’t been able to receive the vaccine yet, which leads to increased worry.

So she put up an additional sign this week reminding customers that vaccine or not, a mask is still required in her store and by the county’s mask mandate.

“By just putting the note on the door we’ve already seen people this morning come up to the door, look at the sign, and turn around and go back to their car to get their mask and come in.”

Pima County’s mask mandate is still in effect and local health experts continue to ask vaccinated people to mask up in public since there’s still a lot of unknowns about the vaccine.

“How long they provide protection—we don’t know how protective they are against variants,” said Jason Ground with the Pima County Health Department. “We’re still learning a lot about vaccines, these vaccines in particular, and how they operate in the real world.”

With a little over 15% of the population in Pima County fully vaccinated, it’s going to be a while until the masks can be left behind. Cases may be continuing to trend down, but health officials want to keep it that way.

“We’re not out of the woods yet. You can see light at the end of the tunnel things are getting better. But there’s still a lot we don’t know, and we really want people to be cautious,” said Ground.

And for Merriman, no sale is worth the price of her safety.

“It’s about respect. And people need to realize that this is a private business. We have every right to maintain and enforce these mandates,” said Merriman.

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