Palm Harbor business faces backlash for requiring customers to wear masks

Pinellas County

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) — A Palm Harbor restaurant is facing some backlash for asking customers to continue wearing masks.

This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed guidance last week, allowing fully-vaccinated people to safely remove masks indoors. Business owners in the Tampa Bay area told WFLA last week they had to decide just how open they would be in response to the changed guidelines.

A sign on the front door of Ozona Pizza in Palm Harbor says, “We are still requiring masks inside to protect all whether vaccinated or not.”

The restaurant has also been carry-out only since the pandemic started.

“We want to keep everyone safe. We have a lot of immune-compromised people that were referred to us from doctors to get gluten-free or dairy-free or vegan food, and we feel we have to keep those people protected,” said Amanda Sklar with Ozona Pizza.

Since the sign was posted, people have left negative reviews on the Ozona Pizza Facebook page, criticizing the mask policy.

“They should respect everybody. Whereas we are, we want to do this for the betterment of everybody. Not just one certain group,” Sklar said. “They are not going home to my 77-year-old mother, my 2-and-a-half-year-old child, my 10-year-old child that I homeschool. So if they don’t want to eat here, they don’t have to. We are not forcing you to eat here. If you choose to eat here then we choose to keep you safe.”

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