KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, some small business owners hope that will usher in change regarding the use of face masks.
"For a place like ours that really thrives off of foot traffic and customers coming to restaurants, all of that has really slowed down," Keith Bradley, Co-Owner of Made in KC, said. "So having a vaccine is without a doubt is one of the best things that could happen for our community."
Right now, patrons must wear a mask to go inside stores to shop for their loved ones and friends. This year, buying gifts while wearing masks is the new normal.
"Masks are our best tool in allowing small businesses like ours to stay open and allowing customers to stay safe while they shop," Bradley said.
But looking ahead, experts have said not to put that mask away just yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask wearing even after receiving the vaccination so doctors can learn more about the protection the vaccine offers.
"Somebody who got vaccinated could transmit the virus under two conditions," Dr. Gregory Poland, of the Mayo Clinic, said. "One is they did not respond to the vaccine, so they're not protected. The other is, and this is where we don't yet have clarity – We know that the vaccine prevents symptomatic infection, [but] does it prevent asymptomatic infection, thats for MRNA?"
This does not mean cloth face masks will need to be worn forever.
"If we get a very large proportion and that is what I am saying, 70-80-90 percent of the public to take these vaccines, we will get back to some degree of normalcy rapidly," Poland said.