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Ada County businesses adapt to new COVID-19 rules

While some businesses in Ada County are beginning to loosen restrictions, others don't have a choice but to keep enforcing them.

BOISE, Idaho — A split in Ada County has business owners trying to navigate through changes in COVID-19 guidelines.

The Central District Health Board voted last Friday to lift Ada County's public health order, including a mask mandate, and issued a strong recommendation instead.

Shortly after the board's decision, Boise Mayor Lauren Mclean issued an updated public health order for her city that, among other restrictions, includes a mask mandate.

While some restaurants in Ada County are beginning to loosen restrictions, others don't have a choice but to enforce them.

Kevin Settles is the owner of Bardenay in Eagle and Boise as well as Coyne's Restaurant and Bar in Eagle. Since the mandate was reverted to a recommendation, masks are no longer required when walking to your table or the restroom at his locations in Eagle.

"Today we are pretty happy with the change," he said. "If you need to go to the bathroom we are not going to track you down to put a mask on, just because you forgot or you chose not to wear it."

Settles is still requiring his employees to wear masks, but even so, he said they are much happier after CDH's decision.

"It was a daily occurrence that someone would be aggressive and hostile to our staff," he said. "No more arguments, no more fights, it's actually been very nice for the staff."

But in the city of Boise, staff are instructed to check each customer that walks into a restaurant to make sure they are masked up.

Lou Pejovich, the owner of Broadway Bar, says it's business as usual, at least during a pandemic.

"Everything is working out very well, the people understand that this is what we have to do to keep everybody safe," Pejovich said.

He believes that the mask mandate in Boise will only last a few more weeks. Even so, he said he is starting to see people in Boise travel to other Treasure Valley cities because of the relaxed restrictions elsewhere.

"Unfortunately [McLean] made her decision to do it this way and of course we are going to abide by it, but it is frustrating, I don't think it's fair, but we will live with it," Pejovich said.

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