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Restaurants say servers will still wear masks for outdoor dining despite new CDC guidance

Newswatch 16's Elizabeth Worthington went to find out how the updated mask guidance will impact people in one of the industry's hit hardest by the pandemic.

Most waiters and waitresses have become used to wearing masks while serving their customers.

But now that the CDC says fully vaccinated people don't need to wear a mask in most outdoor settings, can servers take them off while waiting on tables outside?

We asked two restaurants near Lake Wallenpaupack: Sylvania Social and The Dock. 

Both places will still have their employees wear masks outdoors even if they've been vaccinated.

"And we'll wait it out until it's 100%, but it's nice to know that they have the option because sometimes customers don't hear what they're saying, things like that."

"Abundance of caution is still our strategy, so our employees, whether they're inside or out, will largely be wearing masks," said Justin Genzlinger, CEO of Settlers Hospitality, which owns The Dock.

Most of the servers at The Dock go back and forth between inside the restaurant and the outdoor deck, so Genzlinger says it would be a hassle anyway to have to keep taking the mask off and putting it back on again. 

"So we're not actually reacting too much to today's guidance, although for us it seems like, emotionally, it's a step in the right direction," Genzlinger said.

Restaurant owners hope there are many more of those steps as we get closer and closer to the busiest time of year at Lake Wallenpaupack.

"I think as vaccination rates go up, the way we look at it, for sure things will be different, and the advice will be different by the time the summer's actually here than it is today," said Genzlinger.

"We're looking forward to some change, but I think we'll manage with the masks for now, but again, it's nice to have the option," Menechino said.