Winnebago County Health Department strongly encourages to wear mask, businesses react

Health experts said to mask up in places where people are more vulnerable to catching the virus, like restaurants and retail stores.
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - When COVID-19 cases dropped and we could take our masks came off, many of us thought we were pedaling forward in the pandemic. Now, the Winnebago County Health Department says not so fast. Business owners and community members share their reactions.

“If a business wants to have their customers wear a mask, then that’s up to me to decide if I put on a mask and go in and be a customer, or I can take my business elsewhere,” said Ben Davis.

Ben Davis is tired of wearing a mask. He said if he isn’t required to wear one, he chooses not to. But with COVID-19 cases rising in Winnebago County, the health department reinstated an indoor mask recommendation yesterday, regardless of vaccination status.

“I’m generally respectful of the business owners requirements. If a gym says wear a mask before you work out, then I can choose if I want to wear a mask,” Davis said.

The health department strongly urges the community to mask up in places where they’re more vulnerable to catching the virus, like restaurants, retail stores and gyms. Although, it isn’t a requirement.

“I think a lot of people are opting to wear masks again,” said Rathskellar manager, John Clark.

John Clark manages the Rathskellar in Rockford. He said new safety measures don’t really interrupt his business.

“Luckily the line share our dining is outside, so I don’t feel to compelled to concern the guests,” Clark said.

As long as the mandate is a recommendation, Clark said guests and staff can choose to wear a mask.

“Until we are severe, or in the red, if you will, in one of those charts going around, it’s still going to be a choice,” said Clark.

In addition to masking, the health department recommends vaccination, social distancing and hand washing to prevent the spread.

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