Restaurant-owner says masks are difficult to mandate

Sunny’s Family Restaurant
Sunny’s Family Restaurant(KFYR-TV)
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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SIDNEY, Mont. - It’s been less than a week since some people in Montana were mandated by Gov. Steve Bullock to wear masks while in public settings. It’s required in counties with four or more active cases, and Richland County currently has eight.

In Sidney, mask-wearing has become a two-sided issue with a lot of grey in the middle.

It’s business as usual at Sunny’s Family Restaurant, despite Bullock’s ordinance stating businesses shall require people to wear masks that cover their mouth and nose at all times while inside any indoor public space.

The restaurant’s owner Anissa Gillespie said, “I almost think it’s pointless as far as, how do you drink a cup of coffee or eat? And you’re going to constantly be handling your mask at the very least.”

Sunny’s is not currently requiring customers to wear masks, but they are social distancing. Some customers say it doesn’t make sense in some settings, but they’ll wear a mask most of the time. 

Sidney Resident Burdett Dennis said, “I don’t know if it helps, but I can’t see how it could hurt. So, even if it doesn’t help, if it’s not hurting, what’s the problem? Go ahead and wear the mask. I’ll do whatever the government decides they want to do.”

Mayor Rick Norby said it’s people’s right to not wear face coverings, and most businesses in Sidney are requiring masks, but not turning away customers without them.

Norby added, “You have to take a look at the circumstances, like with restaurants and things like that, it’s very hard for you to have to enforce them when people are coming in to eat, and you definitely don’t want to lose customers over it.”

Norby said he thinks the enforcement of mask wearing in the area is sufficient, and he is looking forward to the days when the active case count goes below four, so the town and state can move forward. 

Bullock also strongly encourages Montanans in counties with three or fewer active cases to wear face coverings.

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