Indy bars get ready for new mask mandate

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INDIANAPOLIS- Since reopening last month, bartenders inside Hotel Tango distillery have been masked up, and starting Thursday, customers will be required to do the same.

“We felt positively about the mask mandate coming down,” said Charles Wright, Director of tasting rooms at Hotel Tango. “We felt like that was something we needed support and backing on, so we were already headed that direction.”

Wright says about half of their customers have been coming in with masks, but now they’ll require 100%, when not sitting at a table.

“If people are at a table and they’re actively eating or drinking, they don’t have to wear the mask,” Wright said. “But if they get up and mingle and move around and if they’re going to come within 6 feet of other patrons in the tasting room, they’re going to need a mask.”

Before COVID, customers had to come up to the bar to order. Now they’re doing table service only, doing what’s necessary to stay open.

“I think this is a matter of ‘what do you want your downtown to look like,’” said Bob Schultz with Downtown Indy Inc. “Let’s support it now, and masks are going to help us do that.”

According to a survey from Downtown Indy, customers are more comfortable going out if masks are required. They may be uncomfortable, but businesses will do whatever it takes.

“This is not going to go away in the short term,” Schultz said. “We are excited to get our economy moving, and mask wearing sounds like it’s very much going to be a part of that effort.”

Hotel Tango plans to have disposable masks for any customers who walk in without one, however they imagine this change will go down just as smooth as their homemade drinks.

“We don’t foresee a lot of challenges with that, but we will be encouraging people to do that,” Wright said.

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