Metro restaurants still divided over masking requirements as CDC releases new guidance

ATLANTA — Restaurants across metro Atlanta have been divided on whether or not to lift mask restrictions as the Centers for Disease control and Prevention released new guidelines Friday.

Speaking with reporters by phone Friday, the CDC announced that most people are now safe going without a mask in indoor settings like schools and restaurants.

Before the announcement, Channel 2′s Michael Seiden stopped by the Flying Biscuit Cafe in midtown Atlanta, where masks are optional for employees and patrons.

“Most people come in with the mask standing in line and then once they get here, they realize that everybody else here is mask free,” said Chadrick DeLoch, who works as a server. “Once they get inside, they’ve been pretty comfortable with taking their masks off.”

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But across town in East Atlanta Village, Seiden found restaurant after restaurant after restaurant requiring masks for those who want to dine indoors.

Just south of the East Atlanta Village on Moreland Avenue, Seiden met Corban Irby, the owner of OK Yaki, a popular restaurant that specializes in Japanese street food.

“We’re following the CDC and checking the numbers every day,” Irby said.

He told Seiden that he has always put his employees first, so he requires customers to be vaccinated and wear masks.

“I talked with my staff and that’s what they wanted,” Irby said. “It didn’t matter if we had less people coming to our restaurant. We wanted to put our staff safety first.”

Irby says he will review the new guidance before making changes.

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