Local Businesses in Yuma vs. Mask Mandate: To Do Or Not?

News 11’s Adonis Albright speaks to local businesses in town to learn how they are handling the latest CDC guidelines

YUMA, Arizona (KYMA, KECY) – Many local Yuma businesses figured out how to implement custom mask mandates after Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R – Arizona) ordered companies to decide whether to issue a mandate want to keep. Many businesses in the city are starting to take down their signs asking customers to wear face covering.

Tecia Cox, the owner of Timeless Elegance Antiques and Collectibles on Main Street, admits her business was negligent in terms of mask requirements at first. Now that the governor is letting the business owners decide, Cox is glad that this is optional for both customers and employees. Cox noted that their shop has not seen an increase in pedestrian traffic since the order was placed, but it has been constantly busy.

“The business has been very busy before and I think because California worked so hard on the masks and Arizona wasn’t compulsory, maybe people come here to get out and visit places.”

Just a few doors down, Bare Naked Soap Co. tells News 11 that their business has had a challenge over the past year when it comes to asking customers to disguise themselves. Primarily because their products are all about fragrances, from soaps to bath bombs to everything else in between. With Yuma County’s COVID-19 cases lagging behind and vaccinations increasing, the company is comfortable welcoming the public with open arms.

“We don’t have to wear a mask, but there are times when we have a lot of customers who come in with masks on. When this happens, we have our mask ready so that they are comfortable too. We will put our masks on.” at this time. Otherwise we’re pretty much maskless, “said Deborah Foxford, operations manager at Bare Naked Soap Co.

Foxford also thanks the Yuma community for how kind and understanding most citizens have been when it comes to mask requirements, and for gathering in a row to keep the community as a whole safe.

However, the mask situation is different for restaurants in the city. Most restaurants and cafes, like the Garden Cafe on Madison Avenue, encourage people to mask themselves, but for the most part, it’s still optional. Since the cafe has outdoor seating, social distancing was relatively easy. The owner, Debbie Gwynn, says her employees are still being asked to put on masks.

“Many of our employees have been vaccinated. We wear a mask to make our customers comfortable, and it’s entirely up to them. We’re not going to stop them and say, “Oh my god, you can’t come in,” absolutely not. So if they are comfortable when they come in, we are comfortable when they come in without a mask. “

Gwynn hopes things will go back to normal in the fall. News 11 also spoke to several customers and guests who said it is convenient to eat and shop around town as masks are a personal choice.

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