Naperville businesses accomodate for lifting of state mask mandate

Kait McHale, Staff Writer

Many Naperville businesses have done away with mask mandates after Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted the Illinois Indoor Mask Mandate on Feb. 28. Anderson’s Bookstore and Sweetwater Cafe are among the businesses that have dropped the mandate. 

While masks protected customers from COVID-19, they also dulled the atmosphere. Sue Buschmann, an Anderson’s Bookstore clerk, said the store experienced a visible change. 

“Our customers seem more cheerful,” Buschmann said. “I think it just lifts people’s spirits to get back to some normalcy.” 

Businesses are also seeing an influx of customers coming in after the mask mandate was lifted. 

“More people are coming in because they don’t have to use masks,” said Alexia Salinas, Sweetwater Cafe’s team manager. “Everyone across the board seems happy about the change.”

Both businesses are still taking safety measures to ensure the comfortability of their staff and customers. 

“We still are not giving out mugs, glasses of water, or anything that is reusable and needs to be washed to limit the spread,” Salinas said. “We did have some concerns, so we’ve done a little bit more curbside pickups to make those customers feel more comfortable.”

Additionally, Anderson’s Bookstore provides resources to protect their customers and solve for uneasiness surrounding unmasking. 

“We are certainly leaving our sanitizer and extra masks prominently displayed so that people can help themselves if needed,” Buschmann said. 

Both businesses continue to keep their staff masked for the comfort and protection of everyone who walks through their doors. 

Overall, Buschmann said lifting the mask mandate promoted a positive atmosphere change. 

“Everyone seems much more relaxed,” she said. “Without masks conversations are easier to take place within the bookstore, giving people more of a sense of connection and community.”