High contact business owners say masks are now another thing they need to worry about

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:46 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Several North Dakota businesses shut down during the early days of the pandemic. They endured weeks of financial hardship until they were allowed to reopen, with some restrictions. And now, Gov. Doug Burgum’s mask mandate may hit them again.

Hair Garage owner Anna Vetter opened her barber shop in December and has had to make lots of changes due to the pandemic. The latest is enforcing a mask mandate for her employees and customers.

The stylists at The Hair Garage are working with a new tool. But it’s not one they chose.

“It’s definitely different, I guess,” said The Hair Garage client Wyatt Nagel.

Nagel was in for his regular haircut but wearing a mask was a new part of his routine.

“It’s kind of an inconvenience. It feels weird. Anna has to take the mask off my ears and then when the towels around and stuff, it’s kind of a little uncomfortable. But, I’m just willing to do whatever it takes so this place can stay open so I can get a haircut,” Nagel said.

Vetter says not everyone is as understanding as Nagel.

“There have been clients that will wear one when they come in, but they do complain about it-- which is totally understandable. I mean, I think everybody would agree that wearing a mask is not ideal,” said Vetter.

Vetter is doing her best to enforce mask wearing, but she says it’s hard to know if it was the right choice. She says making masks mandatory has limited her ability to make everyone in her shop comfortable.

“Just as a business owner, it is a little bit frustrating sometimes because I feel like there’s so many different opinions on it,” said Vetter.

She says she’s trusting lawmakers to make the best decisions for the state. However, she says she won’t turn away customers who won’t or can’t wear a mask. Vetter says she’s doing what she can to keep everyone in her business safe. She urges the public to not be overly-critical of business owners at this time and says they’re all doing what they can to comply with state orders while keeping customers happy.

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