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CDC mask change creates confusion for California restaurants

california restaurant pandemic
Posted at 5:19 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 20:26:27-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Businesses are responding to new CDC guidelines about loosening mask requirements — but, in California, masks are still mandated.

The change is already causing confusion for businesses and customers.

The California Restaurant Association says they've actually seen confrontations on Friday at some of their locations because guests are expecting to walk in without a mask. They're hoping the state aligns with CDC guidelines soon.

But the CDC guidance is a recommendation, not a rule. Which means that state mask requirements mandating masks for employees and customers still stand.

RELATED: Confused about masks? Here's a list of stores' masking policies

Some business owners are interpreting those rules differently.

"At the moment things are firing at us so quick and that decision has yet to be determined for us," said Joey Busalacchi, with Barbusa in Little Italy, adding that dropping mask requirements for only some people would be hard to enforce. "Basically the whole issue comes down to how are we going to decide if someone is vaccinated or not vaccinated. We are going to follow the laws and we are going to make sure that everyone is safe and feels safe."

Other restaurant groups say they're leaving it up to the customer.

Puesto owner Eric Adler tells ABC 10News they will still require masks for employees.

"… It will be up to guests to follow state and local guidelines," said Adler.

Busalacchi says following the rules is in every business owner's best interest.

"I don't think anyone wants to get in that predicament where they risk something as valuable as a liquor license," said Busalacchi.

ABC 10News has reached out to the state liquor licensing agency about how they'll be enforcing current rules, but have not heard back. In the past they've said not following state guidance may result in a business losing their license.

In a statement on Friday, the City of Chula Vista said it is considering options moving forward:

"The City of Chula Vista is considering options for mask wearing and other guidelines as we move forward from the pandemic. The virus is still out there with Chula Vista and South County especially hard hit. We will wait until information is released from the State and what the County recommends. For Chula Vista, we expect to balance the need to keep our residents and employees safe while continuing to open facilities and offer more services as our case rates decline."