Kansas City business owners, customers weigh in on new mask mandate

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ashley Hughes, a manager at The Opera House Emporium in Kansas City’s River Market neighborhood, is celebrating Mayor Quinton Lucas’ order to make masks mandatory in public, starting Monday.

“It’s great news,” Hughes said. “It’s going to be a huge load off our minds. We’ll have a sign at the door, just like any of the other restaurants around here, so everything will just be nice and normal.”

RELATED: Face masks will be required in public in Kansas City, effective Monday, Lucas orders

Hughes said it’s one thing to require employees to wear masks. But to then ask those same workers to interact with customers who aren’t wearing masks can be difficult for a workplace supervisor.

“It’s for everyone’s protection, the young and the old alike,” Hughes said. “Who knows, you might be asymptomatic, so we’re just trying to protect everybody.”

At the City Market, shop owners said there’s usually a 50/50 split among customers who wear a mask and those who don’t. 

The goal is to radically change that ratio by Monday morning.

Not everyone is celebrating the new mask mandate, however.

“I don’t wear a mask right now, but I honestly don’t think my life is in jeopardy,” Nathan Kraft said. “I think if I was to get this virus, I would have it.”

Ultimately, Kraft believes the new edict is an example of government overreach.

“Seems to be more like a dictatorship to me than anything,” Kraft said. “If you’re going to be forced into something, in a free country, that sounds like a dictatorship. That’s kind of my take on it.”

The new order will be in place until July 12, with the KC Health Department evaluating the progress on a regular basis.

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