Columbia Restaurants requiring employees to wear masks again

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Columbia Restaurants are requiring all of their employees to mask up again.

Restaurateur Richard Gonzmart announced the policy change on Facebook Monday, saying staff will be required to wear masks beginning Tuesday.

“We are choosing to be proactive for everyone’s health without waiting for a directive from the CDC,” the post said.

Gonzmart said the decision was made after he and his wife Melanie contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

“Of course vaccinations are not a 100% guarantee against COVID, especially with the variants,” Gonzmart said. “We recently tested positive although I received the Pfizer vaccine and Melanie received the Moderna vaccine.”

He added that he and his wife recovered 10 days later after receiving an antibodies infusion treatment.

The news comes as top health officials say COVID-19 has become a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“I am worried about what is to come because we are seeing increasing cases among the unvaccinated in particular. And while, if you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death, unfortunately that is not true if you are not vaccinated,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Last week, the CDC said more than 97% of people entering hospitals right now are unvaccinated.

The original Columbia Restaurant is located at 2117 E. 7th Avenue in Ybor City. There are also locations in Sarasota, St. Augustine, Celebration and smaller Columbia Café restaurants at the Tampa Bay History Center and at Tampa International Airport.

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