Local News: No unanimity on wearing face masks at local coffee shops (5/27/20)

Local News: No unanimity on wearing face masks at local coffee shops (5/27/20)

To mask or not mask, that is the question.

With apologies to William Shakespeare for amending his classic words, the Southeast Missourian surveyed managers of coffee shops in three communities for their attitudes about masking, social distancing and how their businesses plan to move forward into the summer.

Bob Schooley, proprietor of Ground-A-Bout, 107 E. Adams St. in Jackson, said his employees are not required to mask.

?They?re welcome to (do so), of course,? said Schooley, who has operated the uptown Jackson café since December 2016.

?The employees are free to make that choice for themselves, same for our patrons,? he said.

Schooley estimates perhaps 5% of his customers come in with a mask.

?Very few wear them,? he said, ?and some of those who do have someone close to them who is extra susceptible to sicknesses.?

Schooley said masks can make it difficult for his servers behind the counter.

?It can get noisy in (the coffee shop),? he said, ?and when a customer places an order from 6 feet away, sometimes it?s tough to hear when someone is masked.?

Schooley said social distancing occurs naturally in his establishment.

?At this time of year, having people at every table during warm weather is a rarity,? he said.

?We haven?t rearranged anything,? he added.

Erica Carreras, manager of Baristas in Cape Girardeau?s Marquette Tower, said employees are encouraged but not required to mask.

?Most (baristas) do mask, though,? said Carreras, who said she thinks 20% of customers also wear some sort of cloth covering on their faces.

Baristas, which opened in early 2017, limits the number tables and chairs used in the dining area to comply with social distancing.

Count Carreras as a believer in all the precautions.

?I wear a mask everywhere I go,? she said. ?Not just for me, but for others.?

David Bammel has operated family-owned Villainous Grounds, 26 N. Jackson St. at courthouse square in Perryville, Missouri, since it opened in January 2016.

He and wife Mary Jo won?t open the dining area until June 2.

?Before Missouri went to ?shelter at home,? we closed the dining room and went to curbside service only,? said Bammel, who said as far as his café is from the interstate, Villainous Grounds sees a large amount of out-of-town travelers.

?I?d love to do another month curbside,? said Bammel, ?but we?re a little nervous to go that long.

?We just finished completely rearranging the dining room,? said Bammel, who also said the shop?s comic book section will stay closed indefinitely.

?We can?t sanitize every comic after people handle them,? Bammel said.

Another reason for Bammel?s caution is more personal.

?Our mother-in-law lives with us and is immuno-compromised,? he said.

Bammel said when he takes orders for coffee and pastries to the curb, about 40% of customers are masked.

Like Carreras, Bammel masks when he is out and about.

?I wear (a mask) at Walmart, at the post office, you name it,? Bammel said, ?because I know (the pandemic) is not over.?

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