Local business owners in nightlife industry share frustrations on temporary mask mandate
"I was on the front lines with my staff during the last mask mandate being what we called the mask police," Santurri said. "My staff was harassed, I was harassed, tables tipped over, drinks thrown, fists clenched. I had to close my business one night because I couldn’t get people to follow the mandate."
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- If you’re planning on going to a business or venue in Rhode Island, you should definitely pack your mask and vaccination card.
Some business owners are speaking out over concerns on patronage, income, and even employee safety.
Governor Dan McKee on Wednesday announced a temporary indoor mask mandate for businesses and venues, that will go into effect on Monday.
Businesses and venues with capacity for over 250 people will require masking for employees and patrons regardless of vaccination status. For places with capacity for less than 250 people, masking will be required unless patrons and employees show proof of vaccination.
Some business owners in Providence, like Anthony Santurri, shared with ABC6 News their frustrations with the mandate.
Santurri, co-owner of Colosseum Night Club and Free Play Bar Arcade, said he felt McKee’s announcement divided the industry.
“I would’ve been much happier with just a vaccine card mandate versus a mask and/or mandate. But, that’s not where we are.”
Santurri said he’s expecting to lose customers, which will eventually lead to a major financial loss as well. But, his main concern is his employees, their well being, and safety.
“I was on the front lines with my staff during the last mask mandate being what we called the mask police,” Santurri said. “My staff was harassed, I was harassed, tables tipped over, drinks thrown, fists clenched. I had to close my business one night because I couldn’t get people to follow the mandate.”
The two businesses are staples in Providence’s nightlife industry, one that Santurri feels is already suffering.
“I’m only speaking for me, but I think I’m speaking for everyone in my position, and everyone that wants to care about their employees, their jobs, and their own livelihoods.”