TULSA, Okla. — The City of Tulsa’s mask ordinance officially ends Friday, and so does the requirement for restaurant and bar employees to wear a mask.
Even with the requirement ending, some Tulsa restaurants will continue to require masks for their employees, including Mondo's Italian Restaurant and Bohemian Pizza.
“We’re at risk," said Amy McMillin, co-owner of Bohemian Pizza. "We’re, with so much public coming in, taking off their masks and eating and drinking and being exposed.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum posted on Facebook Wednesday the Tulsa Health Department doesn’t believe local contact tracing data supports leaving the mask order in place for restaurant and bar employees.
Even with this update, the restaurants want to make sure their customers and employees feel safe.
“Nine out of 10 people would probably say, ‘Hey, we’re tired of wearing masks. We’re good with it,'" said Rob Aloisio, owner of Mondo's Italian Restaurant. "But maybe that 10 percent is still nervous to come out and eat. We want them to feel comfortable and safe.”
At Mondo’s, customers won’t be required to wear a mask when they arrive after the ordinance expires on Friday, but they will need their mask at Bohemian Pizza.
“There’s so much uncertainty and we’re not prepared to make any changes until we know for sure that we’re safe," McMillin said. "That’s what’s kept our restaurant open this entire time.”
The two restaurants are bouncing back after moving to to-go orders in the early days of the pandemic. Now their dining rooms are open and they want it to stay that way, so they plan to keep their other COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
“When COVID happened, we built partitions, and you know, we spent a lot of money trying to keep our customers safe and that’s what we’re going to continue to do," Aloisio said.
When asked when these two restaurants will allow their employees to take off the masks at work, they said it will depend on future data and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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