Local businesses choose which COVID policy to enforce with new mandate

Regional News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State’s new mask mandate started Monday, but it’s different than the last one. Now, businesses and venues must choose to require everyone to wear a mask or only admit vaccinated patrons.

When it comes to the COVID-19 mandate, each business is handling it differently. At The Lion Heart Pub and Brewery, only those vaccinated are being allowed entry. Once inside, they don’t have to wear their mask.

“The best decision for everyone, including staff,” said owner Jerry Aumand. “And recognizing that the pandemic is still with us, wanting to do the best we could to prohibit it from spreading further, especially in our controlled environment. I went with the policy I did.”

While some businesses like the Madison Theater are only requiring masks, others like The Linda, are requiring both masks and proof of vaccination.

“We insist that everyone entering The Linda is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and they show proof with either their COVID pass and vaccination schedule and ID, or the New York State Excelsior App and ID. Also, everyone in the building must be fully masked unless you are actively eating or drinking, or of course preforming,” said Peter Hughes, General Manager of The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio.

For The Linda, the policy is nothing new.

“We have been doing this since the fall, and so far, it’s been nothing but supported, and everyone has been very, very gracious,” said Hughes.

At the Lion Heart Pub, Aumand said, so far, he’s gotten positive feedback on his policy as well.

“I was concerned about some people having some resistance to being asked for proof of vaccination, but overwhelmingly, people seem to be positive about showing that and being in an environment where they don’t have to be concerned as much,” stated Aumand.

Aumand said he’s happy that Governor Kathy Hochul put a timeline on the mandate to re-evaluate it come January 15; however, he said in the future, he’d appreciate more advanced notice.

Businesses had only the weekend to make a choice.

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