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photo credit: Cloverdale businesses make their own mask rules before the State issued guidance today

Until clear guidance was handed down today by the state's workplace regulators, this week businesses all around Sonoma County have been making their own rules for mask wearing. 

"It felt freeing and it felt like we were breaking the rules," said Frances Kruger, owner of Dahlia and Sage Community Market in Cloverdale.

Kruger said the reopening is a positive thing for Cloverdale, where almost nine percent of the about 9,200 residents caught COVID. And after almost all restrictions were eased this week, Kruger asked her staff to remain masked but invited vaccinated people into the shop without face coverings.

"If they would like to wear a mask I would love that but if they don't want to I'm not going to make them do it," Kruger said.

Downtown Cloverdale fabric store owner Kate Barrett, chose a different option - to keep the former strict restrictions in place and ask everyone who enters the store to put on their masks and apply hand sanitizer.

"My businesses is mostly a certain demographic in the senior realm and they are more vulnerable to this type of infection," Barrett said. "So I figure I air on the side of caution."

Cloverdale city council member and long-time resident Melanie Bagby says things are feeling more comfortable in the tight-knit town since over 70  percent of residents in Sonoma County have at least one vaccine shot. But this week, when businesses had to make their own rules, they thought about their staff, many who never stopped working during the pandemic.

"It's been up to the business owners what they feel comfortable with and a lot of them want to keep their employees safe during this transition time," Badby said.

Customers also have to choose. Cloverdale resident and salon worker Linda says she's continued to wear a mask at work this week but hasn't been sure what to do when she goes out to get a coffee or goes grocery shopping.

"It feels kind of funny right now it's like, do I wear a mask, do I don't wear a mask," Linda said.

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