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Local restaurants facing challenges about face masks

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 20:17:24-04

BOZEMAN — In almost every situation, there’s always multiple sides, and this is no different with the current pandemic we’re living in. Some people think employees should wear a mask in restaurants while others think they shouldn’t.

“We know that we’re never going to be able to make both sides happy. We understand that there is one perspective on social distancing and masks and there is a complete other perspective,” said restaurant owner Aaron Parker.

Parker owns Jam, Dave's Sushi and Revlry restaurants. As a restaurant owner, Parker says he’s heard from both sides.

“Those that believe that COVID-19 is a conspiracy, and that’s the sad side. You know, we know that this is a real thing,” he said.

And then there’s the other side.

“One inflicting their opinion on why one needs to wear a face masks. We see both sides. We definitely support and encourage wearing face masks,” Parker added.

But for another restaurant, wearing a face mask is the main priority for the employees.

“As an ownership group and as a business, we are definitely feel it’s the most crucial thing we can do above and beyond our sanitation practices,” said Sean Timothy Harris, co-owner of Montana Ale Works.

And they have a reason why.

“My concerns is I have a compromised immune system. I have an autoimmune disease that is directly in my lungs, and I know that this virus is something that’s affecting people with their lungs and affecting breathing so for me it hits very close to home,” explained Brah Harris, the bar manager at Montana Ale Works.

So would the Gallatin City-County Health Department consider making it a mandate?

“A mandate is one of those ways but it’s not the only way. So, I think that the board would consider. But the board is also looking at other options as well,” explained Gallatin City-County Health Officer Matt Kelley.

Currently there are no requirements for restaurant employees or staff to wear a mask.