Downtown businesses get a boost as indoor mask mandate eased

SAN DIEGO – The first weekend in two months without a mask mandate, there is more foot traffic and smiling faces in the Gaslamp Quarters.

Downtown restaurant and store owners said business has been up since Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the indoor mask mandate on Wednesday.

Under new state guidelines, fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear face coverings indoors, but unvaccinated people are still required to wear face coverings indoors.

“The day we heard, we ripped this thing off right away,” said Jesse Kolly, store manager at Sole Concepts.

Some Californians, like Kolly and her team, wasted no time ditching face masks.

“I see people walking around the Gaslamp like [Saturday] where someone spins past my door every 10 seconds and that’s what we like to see. We love the dynamic and lively downtown,” he said.

A block away, tables at Greystone Steakhouse are filling up fast since the statewide indoor mask mandate was lifted for vaccinated guests.

“Right before the new year, we had an instant 25-30% drop in business and it happened overnight, it happened immediately,” said Sara Arjmand, chief marketing officer at Greystone Steakhouse. . “It hurt us a lot because it was over the new year and the big holidays coming up and it’s funny because as soon as it lifted we went up 25% and the Gaslamp is buzzing. “

Even some vaccinated visitors still choose to mask themselves.

“In Spain we always wear it and it has become a habit and it makes you feel safe,” said Bernardo Cartin, who is from Spain.

Many companies trust unvaccinated people to continue wearing masks in the future.

“We put up the sign and we just follow a merit and honor system,” Kolly said.

People should always wear a mask when taking public transport, regardless of their vaccination status.

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