Tracker Pixel for Entry

Local Restaurants Implement Their Own Mask Policies

All About Food | October 7th, 2020

By Annie Prafcke

annieprafcke@gmail.com

Fargo, ND – Cass County is now at a moderate risk level for the coronavirus according to the North Dakota Department of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further indicate that Cass County is responsible for almost a quarter (24.4% on October 1st) of coronavirus cases in North Dakota. On September 21st, Commissioner John Strand proposed a mask mandate for the city of Fargo to help flatten the curve. Although his proposal has been met with controversy, several local restaurants have already taken the initiative to require masks in their establishments.

Andrea Baumgardner, co-owner of BernBaum’s sandwich and bagel shop, says her employees masked at the onset of the pandemic in March, during which time they were only open for takeout and delivery. When they reopened dine-in services in mid-June, they posted a sign asking customers to wear a face-covering when ordering to protect employee health. A few weeks later, the front of the house reported feeling unsafe because some customers were not complying, prompting Baumgardner to post the sign that is now on their front door, reading “No mask, no service” on July 21st. While most customers gladly adhere to the policy, Baumgardner says she has had some complaints, with two customers even attempting to enter unmasked with fake medical exemption cards. Syndey Nelson, who works as a server at BernBaum’s, affirms, “We all feel way more comfortable taking orders when masks are involved.”

BernBaum's only requires customers to wear face coverings when ordering at the counter since that is when close contact between customers and staff lasts the longest. So far, none of BernBaum’s employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Silver Lining Creamery currently serves customers from a walk-up window rather than their lobby and they require all staff and delivery people wear a face-covering in the building. They also sanitize five times daily, monitor employee temperatures, and strictly adhere to CDC guidelines. Although wearing a mask is not required for customers ordering at the window, they are strongly encouraged to do so. Michelle Pulling, owner of Silver Lining Creamery, says many of her employees have at-risk family members whom they want to protect from potential exposure to coronavirus. Pulling believes it is important to take these precautions because she wants Fargo kids, including her own great-niece, to be able to safely return to school with full in-person instruction as soon as possible. She says, “We do everything we can that we have control of to make sure that we’re doing our part to not spread it [coronavirus].”

The CDC affirms that there is a greater risk of contracting the coronavirus in enclosed spaces, such as restaurants because it is more difficult to maintain social distancing and to disperse respiratory droplets. Face coverings with at least two layers slow and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially when all members of a community wear them. Many people who work in small eateries with limited airflow believe that a mask mandate for customers is their best protection. Kara Klipfel is the general manager of Luna, a Fargo restaurant on South University Drive that mandates customers wear a face-covering except at their tables. She says Luna is a small restaurant and employees work in close quarters for hours. She believes having a mask requirement, as well as building a patio for outdoor seating, has made Luna safer for everyone. Katie Williams, who works as a server at Luna, says she feels that by masking, customers respect both her health as a server and the health of fellow customers.

Don Gorden, a cook at Teddy’s Eatery & Parlor, another restaurant with limited space, says he and his coworkers are in consensus that the mask requirement at this establishment is necessary since Teddy’s does not offer takeout or delivery and all customers are in the same enclosed area for extended periods of time. He says, “. . . Pretty much we’re all friends here . . . And we all feel the same way about it. It should be this way.”

While it is admirable that many local eateries have taken extra steps to protect their employees and the public from the coronavirus, it is a difficult decision for some restaurant owners to turn away non-compliant customers. Casey Absey, Owner and Operator of Blackbird Woodfire, says that while his staff are masked, he does not necessitate customers do the same. He says he is not in a financial position to be able to turn down business, even though he believes masks are important. Absey believes it would be easier to require masks in his establishment if it were government enforced rather than the choice of individual restaurants. He says, “. . . The state’s not mandating anything, which I think they should at least back us up on a lot of that stuff but they’re not at all.”

Commissioner John Strand believes a city-wide mask mandate would be an important step in maintaining public health in Fargo. “Fargo is a concentrated population center for our region. And our numbers are unfortunately not going in the right direction,” he says. “. . . While we’ve had a directive in place and we’ve had lots of businesses stepping up and implementing their own policies, there are countless examples of outright noncompliance.”

Although the Fargo City Council did not pass a mask mandate on September 21st, they did approve of drafting two versions of a mask mandate ordinance, one with enforcement mechanisms and one without. Strand says the purpose of drafting this ordinance is so that it will be readily available if cases of COVID-19 rise and it becomes necessary to consider enacting it.

Strand says that in drafting an ordinance, exemptions will be considered for people with medical conditions and children under 10. Exemptions for certain situations, such as for playing sports, attending religious services, and speaking publicly, will also be considered.

Regardless of whether or not a mask mandate passes, the Fargo community should be thankful to restaurants and businesses that prioritize public health. We should all do what we can to not only protect ourselves but to protect all of those who work at the local shops and eateries we love. 

Recently in:

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comJason Sole may have an impressive resume as a Criminal Justice professor, past president of the Minneapolis NAACP, founder of movements and initiatives, national restorative justice trainer, author,…

By Michael M. Miller  michael.miller@ndsu.eduGermans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo,…

Sons of Norway, Kringen Lodge #4-25, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Norwegian culture.Sentrum på 722 2nd Ave N, FargoKringen Kafe er åpen for Kaffe og Bakverk mandag-fredag 9.00 til…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comOur opinion: Let our character and characters define usIt’s no secret that North Dakota is one of our nation’s least visited states, in fact I can think of a handful of folks I’ve chatted…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com Good or Bad Sex Ends Up Controlling and Winning the Numbers GameSex Bio-ethnics Professor Katie Watson says a woman who regularly has sex once a week or more during her reproductive years will…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com“If you had talked to me five years ago or even a year ago and told me I was gonna be a chef in Fargo I probably would have looked at you pretty funny. It's wild where food is taking me in…

By Sabrina Hornung and Jr Lacroixsabrina@hpr1.comProf Comes to Town With a New Album, 'Powderhorn Suites'Minneapolis-based rapper Prof has undergone a number of changes within a short amount of time. Abruptly dropped from the…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMaureen Bharoocha’s “Golden Arm” applies the irresistible combination of long-haul trucking and competitive arm wrestling in the tradition of Menahem Golan’s 1987 Sylvester Stallone cult…

By Sarah Noursacha1689.sc@gmail.comOn Sunday, November 7th, the Spirit Room will hold a reception for “Contaminated Nightmares,” their current exhibition of mixed-media pieces by local artist and musician Adam Bursack. This…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…