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Hochul's new mask requirement: Businesses have mixed feelings

A sign requiring mask use is seen outside of a store in Union Station on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC.{ } (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
A sign requiring mask use is seen outside of a store in Union Station on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
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Capital Region business owners have mixed feelings about Governor Hochul’s new indoor mask policy which is to take effect Monday.

For Janet Hutchison, owner of The Open Door Bookstore, not much will change for her store when the mask requirement takes effect Monday.

“We’ve been requiring masks all along we have a Lotta children that visit the store who for a long time couldn’t get vaccinated,” said Hutchison.

MORE: 'Wake-up call': New mask mandate goes into effect Monday in New York

Over in Ballston Spa, business owner Kate Fryer adds the mandate gives an extra layer of protection for her current mask policy.

“It’s been hard to enforce, so now I’m happy someone else has stepped in to do it,” said Fryer who owns jewelry store A Bead Just So. “Because there’s no actual mandate people don’t want to wear it, especially if their vaccinated; which I understand.”

MORE: Gov. Hochul: "Alarm going off" over COVID hospitalizations

But not all business owners are happy about the policy. In Saratoga Springs, clothing store owner Heidi Owen West says timing couldn’t be worse.

“It looks like it needs to be implemented by Monday morning; I say what a brutal timeframe for a business owner to try and get something new in place especially during the holiday busy holiday season,” said Owen West.

Local health departments will be in charge of fining businesses who don’t comply.

Those fines could be up to $1000 per violation.

But not if you own a business in Rensselaer County.

County Executive Steve McLaughlin released the following statement Friday saying:

“This is the wrong direction for the state to be taking, especially given the innumerable orders, policy changes and directives already made during the past two years. This is an over-reach and it comes at a time when residents and businesses are already struggling.”

“Residents are already taking common-sense precautions and businesses, organizations and other establishments have been going above and beyond to keep the public and customers safe. Over 80 percent of state residents have already been fully vaccinated.”

“The county Health Department has been providing a seven-day-a-week, round-the-clock response to the pandemic for nearly two years. They are working on contact tracing, immunization clinics and many other duties and do not have the time or resources to deal with yet another state mandate.”

“Rensselaer County will not utilize resources to enforce this new state mandate. If the state wants to enforce the mandate, the state will need to utilize state resources for those actions.”

CBS6 reached out to the Rensselaer County Executives office and the County’s Department of Health for comment.

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We did not get a response back.

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