Vaccination cards not required to go maskless at Indiana restaurants

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INDIANAPOLIS — The day so many have been waiting for has arrived, the CDC and President Biden saying masks and social distancing guidelines are no longer required in most indoor locations – if you are fully vaccinated. 

Will restaurants and other indoor businesses require Hoosiers to present their vaccination cards as proof to go maskless? Patrick Tamm, president & CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, says no. 

“We’re not asking people for that at this time, and I think that’s where businesses will also try to make sure, particularly restaurants, we’re in the business of making people comfortable,” Patrick Tamm said. “Individual businesses will still make those individual decisions and that’s where having some common courtesy for others, would be helpful because frankly, in each part of the state, it’s a little different – what customers are willing to do or what they’re comfortable with.”

With 92 counties and 96 individual health departments in the state, the guidance has been left up to the discretion of each individually. Which makes things confusing for small business owners.  

“It’s gonna be on the customer’s responsibility to choose whether or not they’re choosing to wear a mask. There will be no questioning of customers at all,” Proprietor of The District Tap, Michael Cranfill said. “Most restaurants you go to, their employees are still required to wear masks – which I completely get it. You wanna make sure that all the customers feel safe in that dining environment.”

Customer safety and comfort is the main priority as many restaurants have reported strong starts to the season.

“As vaccinations have rolled out, we’ve seen a great increase in guests and larger family gatherings at restaurants as well,” Tamm said. “There’s no mass – front on personal liberties if the business is asking you to kindly do that. They’re doing that just to make sure everyone feels comfortable.”

With changes in guidelines still head from one county to the next, restaurants have opted to play it safe with their employees still wearing masks while asking you to still do so until safely seated. 

We want our customers to feel safe – when they’re coming in, so we feel like it’s the right thing to do even though the mask mandate is up in Hamilton County,” Blake Fogelsong, Owner & Director of Operations of Clancy’s Inc. said. “We’re excited to get back to normal. Eventually, we will take these off.”

Which is why, for now, restaurants ask for your patience. 

Just have some additional courtesy for Hoosiers. Just have some common sense. There’s no need to go crazy – over the situation,” Tamm said. “Particularly for that 16-year-old host or server in a restaurant or in a front desk.”

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