Knoxville businesses decide whether to follow county lead and do away with mask requirement

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Wednesday was the first full day without a mask mandate in Knox county in almost a year. Businesses wasted no time following the lead of county leadership and doing away with mask requirements in their establishments.

But, others are choosing to move at a slower pace. For the owners of Landing House restaurant and bar, the announcement of the end of a mask mandate is enough to give them hope, but not enough to do away with masks.

They’ve made the choice to continue requiring their customers and employees to wear masks. Management says they’re sticking with that choice for now.

“The business owners just feel that they want to give everybody time to make sure that who wants to be vaccinated can get vaccinated and at the same time, also waiting until our staff is fully vaccinated,” said Katey Green, a manager at the restaurant.

While one business chooses to wait, another is singing a different tune. Pizza Hoss employees say they are ecstatic they don’t have to wear masks anymore.

“You feel like you can actually breathe and whenever you go up to a table you don’t have tables asking you what did you say?” said Destiny Tignor, a manager at Pizza Hoss.

They say customers are loving it as well.

“All of our customers are like oh my gosh now we get to see what you look like underneath the mask so it’s very exciting,” Tignor said.

Both restaurants made different decisions, but they do have one thing in common; hope.

The Landing House says they will probably end their mask requirement for customers in June or July, to give people more time to get vaccinated if they choose. Pizza Hoss has eliminated masks completely, but they say they are still keeping tables socially distanced.

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