Washington's mask mandate ends, businesses getting 'back to normal'

"Getting back to normal." That's how some business owners and customers are describing the first day without a statewide mask mandate in place.

In Snohomish, The Maltby Café was buzzing with orders and conversations, as some people still try to figure out their comfort level when it comes to dropping the masks.

"It's nice to see people's smiles and their faces and, you know, you always could see the sparkle in people's eyes over the masks but with the masks to see their faces again," café owner Tana Baumler said.

Baumler said it's been a while, but here we are having breakfast and no masks needed to get into The Maltby Café.

With the statewide mask mandate over, she and her loyal crew have been able to shift their focus to their mouthwatering menu items.

"It was never a part of our job to have to do that in the first place, so it's good to be able to not have to worry about people that are a little disgruntled and maybe don't want to," manager Brendan Calvo said.

It's still a tough decision for some, to mask up or not, that is.

Baumler said her cooks have all decided to keep masks on for the time being.

"They're in the kitchen wearing their masks, and they're the ones I felt the most sorry for because when it gets really hot, it's hard to keep those on," Baumler said.

Some customers came in wearing masks.

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"For me, personally, I'm not ready because I've gone this whole time without having it, and I'm not ready to, I think it's too early," Carla Woodworth said.

Meanwhile, other customers decided to ditch the masks.

"No more masks, you know, I'm loving it, man. I've been waiting for this day for a long time. Look at my face, it's totally broken out because I'm wearing that mask. I mean you can see it," Darren Labay said.

Workers said this moment tastes about as sweet as one of the café's cinnamon rolls.

Some businesses have closed in the pandemic, but they've stayed afloat because of their customers.

Now, they share in this meal together, kind of like old times.

"We are so blessed here in being busy, and we have such a crowd that does support us and support the owners and all of us, and I've definitely thanked God for how busy we are," server Sarah Calvo said.

Those we talked with said it is important that as people gauge their comfort level, everyone has respect and understanding moving forward.

It is important to remember businesses, organizations and local governments can still require masks.

The governor's office said masks will also still be required in certain environments including healthcare settings, corrections facilities and long-term care facilities.


Here's where you'll still need to wear a mask after March 12 in Washington and Oregon

As Washington and Oregon end masking requirements for most places, there are still some situations where you'll need to wear a mask.

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