Amarillo businesses face decision whether or not to require masks

Here’s what some owners are saying.

VIDEO: Amarillo businesses respond to mask mandate

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Amarillo businesses are facing the decision whether to still require masks after Governor Abbott lifted the mask mandate and is allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent starting March 10.

Contagion Athletics does not require members or employees to wear masks anymore, but they will continue to keep their gym sanitized and have different stations set up throughout the facility with sanitation, spray and towels.

The owner says they are glad they do not have to enforce the mask policy anymore as they feel it should be a personal decision.

“I just don’t feel it’s right as a business that we have to enforce it if you don’t want to do it. Especially if you’re paying a membership here. I don’t feel like I have the right to tell you, ‘You need to wear a mask’ if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a mask. And if you have ever worked out in a mask, it’s very hard to do so,” said Kevin Van Voris, owner of Contagion Athletics, gym in Amarillo.

Van Voris says throughout the pandemic more people have been wiping down the equipment and machines after use, which has made it easier to keep the gym cleaner than before the pandemic.

“One thing that we pride ourselves on is cleanliness. Along with that, we have the most space as far as gym equipment in Amarillo and we also have a big airplane hangar door that we can open up and it gets fresh air in,” said Van Voris.

Barnes Jewelry will not require masks for customers or employees anymore but will continue to clean jewelry thoroughly after tried on by a customer to help limit the spread of the disease and germs.

“We’re very excited about the lifting of the mask mandate. We immediately took the sign off our door that said we require masks. Even though it doesn’t go into effect until Wednesday, we decided to go ahead and take the sign down... I’m not going to make everybody happy and somebody is going to be upset that I don’t wear a mask, but I feel it’s a personal choice and you know, I really don’t think we’ve lost any business because of that,” said Bill Archinal, general manager at Barnes Jewelry.

Employees will wear masks if a customer requests it.

“If a ring is too tight sometimes, they will just stick their whole finger in their mouth to get it wet and pull that ring off. And you know, nobody really wants to touch it after that,” said Archinal.

United Stores will continue to stay diligent in their cleaning protocols and staff will still wear masks. They are asking customers to continue to follow the COVID safety protocols by wearing masks, but will re-evaluate their practices in mid-April.

A United Family statement says, “The state has removed the requirement to wear a mask and any associated penalties. The United Family will continue to encourage our guests to wear a mask, in addition to observing other COVID safety practices.”

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