Will Wichita businesses comply with mask ordinance? Business owners have mixed reactions

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – As masks become the new requirement in Wichita, XY Bar is choosing to loosen the straps and making masks optional for guests and even their staff.

“We don’t make our employees come to work if they don’t feel safe. We definitely don’t have a right to make our customers come in if they don’t feel safe, but they have a choice, and they have the right to make that choice, and we’re gonna give them that right,” said Chad Porter, XY Bar owner.

Initially, after Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order, XY Bar was only going to make masks optional for customers and required for staff. However, they decided to change that after the city voted them to be required in public places in Wichita.

“Anybody can come in and shut us down, I totally understand that, but there are also civil liberties in play here, and I take play with that,” said Porter.

Depending on whether it is a first or repeat offense, people caught in Wichita without masks can see anywhere from $25, $50, up to a $100 fine.

Something Porter says he is not worried about.

“If I get a fine for doing that, I’ll write them a check today, for all our bars.”

Fever Night Life will require the masks to get inside. Austin Henry, general manager of Fever, says that does not come without some challenges.

“We understand that they can’t wear them while they’re drinking. But we do want them to have them with them and use them properly when 6-foot distancing is not an option.”

As for Reverie Coffee Roasters the mask requirement is nothing new.

“You know it’s a tough decision to have to try and battle against a customer when they’re offering you money versus doing what’s right,” said Andrew Gough, owner of Reverie Coffee Roasters.

Which is why they are feeling thankful for the city council’s vote. Gough believes the ordinance is something that will benefit all local businesses.

“Another shutdown would absolutely kill our businesses and make it even harder to recover. So, the sooner that we get to take care of our health, the faster that we are going to get to the normal that we all really want.”

If you do not have a mask, many businesses like Fever and Reverie Coffee Roasters will have spares ready for you to grab.

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