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‘We’re in an impossible situation:’ Cincy bars and restaurants wary of checking vaccinations

It’s been a confusing 24 hours for business owners in Ohio.
Published: May. 14, 2021 at 10:33 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The time many have been waiting for is finally here—no more masks if you’re fully vaccinated! (Well, mostly.)

But the transition perhaps isn’t as cut-and-dry as everyone imagined, and in fact, some Cincinnati businesses are stressed by the prospect of enforcing the new rules.

It all began on Thursday when the CDC issued new guidance saying all fully vaccinated people can largely ditch their masks. Kentucky followed suit almost immediately, and Ohio did the same on Friday afternoon. (Indiana’s mask mandate expired last month.)

So here’s where things stand: No masks required in Indiana, while in Ohio and Kentucky fully vaccinated people can toss their masks except in a healthcare setting, while traveling on public transportation, including airplanes, and when they are in a business or have an employer who chooses to require masks.

Ohio’s mask order will end wholesale on June 2. Kentucky’s will do the same on June 11. But until then, people who are not fully vaccinated still need to wear masks in all settings where they were required to do so before Thursday.

The big question is, who’s gonna check vaccination status? Do folks have to carry their vaccine cards around with them now? Who’s going to police this?

Jim Moehring, owner of Holy Grail at The Banks, wonders the same thing.

“I just didn’t expect it to come so soon,” Moehring said. “I kinda did, and then it just came out of nowhere and hit me in the side of the head that day, and [I’m] still trying to digest it a little bit.”

Where does that leave businesses? In limbo, says Moerlein Lager House General Manager Aaron Adams.

“We’re trying to figure out which way to go,” Adams said.

Said Moehring, “I think the reality is, we’re in an impossible situation down here.”

The business owner says he isn’t going to “fight with people” about wearing a mask anymore.

“It’s a personal choice at this point in time,” he said. “People have had the ability to get vaccinated.”

Moehring adds his staff is still wearing masks. As for customers?

“The patrons are going to do what the patrons want to do.”

That’s the track most businesses at The Banks say they’re following, taking things day by day and allowing customers to do what makes them comfortable.

It’ll all be moot on June 2 in Ohio and on June 11 in Kentucky, But until then, it’s “scouts honor”—and little else.

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