The city of Holyoke is implementing another indoor mask mandate beginning Wednesday. The order applies to all businesses, public places and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible.

HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM)-- Wednesday at midnight, a new indoor mask mandate goes into effect in Holyoke for all indoor businesses and public places, regardless of vaccination status. Some business owners are speaking out, worried about their future.

The community is taking to Facebook upset with the new mandate. One business owner told Western Mass News this will be hard to enforce with customers.

"We're barely getting out of this and here we go with one more negative," said Peter Ross, owner of Log Cabin Delaney House in Holyoke.

The city of Holyoke is implementing another indoor mask mandate beginning Wednesday. The order applies to all businesses, public places and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible.

There is a $300 fine for businesses that don't comply but city officials said they're hoping it doesn't come to that.

"The concern is that the holidays are looming," said Sean Gonsalves, director of Holyoke Board of Health.

Western Mass News sat down with the city's acting Mayor, director of the Board of Health and the Public Health Nurse for answers, they told Western Mass News Holyoke had the third-highest COVID-19 case rate in Hampden County.

"We’ve seen sustained high case counts in Holyoke for 9, 10, 11 weeks," said Gonsalves.

Over the summer, the city was reporting weekly case rates in the single digits and now those cases are over 100 per week.

Owner of the Log Cabin and Delaney House Peter Rosskothen told Western Mass News he was surprised to hear the city itself is moving backwards.

"I thought we were improving in Massachusetts, I thought we were out of the worst stage," said Rosskothen.

He said this mandate brings a huge change to his businesses—especially for large events and weddings which currently have no restrictions.

"We’re letting everyone do what they wish there’s some staff and guests wearing masks but the majority has not," said Rosskothen.

Rosskothen said the struggles seen throughout the pandemic have been difficult for city businesses to overcome and he hopes enforcing this rule doesn't lead to problems.

"That I can control every staff member effective tomorrow will be wearing a mask that’s not a choice enforcing it with customers and guests is sometimes a difficult thing to do," said Rosskothen.

There is a $300 fine for businesses that don't comply, but city officials said they're hoping it doesn't come to that. Officials are also urging people to get vaccinated. Only around 50% of city residents are fully vaccinated.

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(2) comments

angrybananapeel

Just refuse. These mask mandates are not legal.

JustinCase

What you do is get your meals in another town. City of Holyoke will lose out on the meals tax.

Hit them in the pocketbook.

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