Some Cloquet Business Owners Ready for Mask Mandate Ahead of Council Vote Tuesday

While city officials' views on the ordinance are divided, these business owners say it's a good idea.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Coming up Tuesday two Northland cities, Cloquet and Superior, will vote on a mask mandate for indoor public places. In Cloquet, some business owners say it’s a good idea if it means continuing their operations as safely as possible.

“I think it’s good for the community overall, just to keep the spread of the Coronavirus,” said Cindy Peterson, owner and General Manager of Tapper Pete’s Steakhouse and Saloon on Highway 45.

At the restaurant employees are already wearing masks and customers are socially distanced apart, even though the pandemic has left the place mostly empty, according to Peterson. “Our business has been down significantly since the Coronavirus.”

“We’re more of a dine-in experience so I think people are just leery about dining in. Most of our business is curbside right now,” she said.

It’s hard to say if a mask mandate will bring in more sit-down traffic, Peterson said. But she will do everything she can to get as many people through the door safely, if the ordinance is passed.

“We would definitely put a note on the door saying masks required if that’s what we have to do,” she said. “And then probably have people screened as they come in and possibly even providing masks for customers if that’s an option.”

“Just not to turn someone away,” said Peterson.

Meanwhile the owner of Lakeshore Tobacco Vapor on Cloquet Avenue is in favor of the mandate.

“I think it’s a good idea for the City of Cloquet to have an ordinance like that,” said Aysar Sadi.

Sadi said he’s seeing customers at his business in Duluth, Sadi’s Smoke Shop, reacting well to their recently passed ordinance. “Most of the customer, they’re OK with it, they like it, especially the senior people.”

But unlike in Duluth, a unanimous vote for the mandate in Cloquet may not be as smooth.

Some city councilors have said they do not agree with the ordinance, citing enforcement difficulties as the main concern. For more on their thoughts, check out our previous story here.

“I know, like, some people yes, some people no with the ordinance,” said Sadi.

Carlton County also took up a discussion on this issue, but it ultimately failed when county commissioners denied the proposal.

If it is denied in Cloquet as well Tuesday, city leaders say a possible next step would be a resolution strongly suggesting businesses and the community wear face coverings.

“Most of the time our customer is understandable and they are aware from the virus so I don’t think there’s going to be any issues,” Sadi said.

He’s already seen signs that his customers should be on board. “A good amount of people they already have a mask before the ordinance so I would say people, our community is kind of aware for what’s going on and they are taking the responsibility.”

“All the customer has a family and each one want to protect their own family,” said Sadi.

And over at Trapper Pete’s, Peterson said if a mask mandate ensures not only the safety of everyone inside, but the safety of her business, she’s all for it.

“If they were going to close us again if we didn’t have masks I would chose masks over being closed again because being closed is very hard,” she said. “We’ve already, we were closed for a couple months and it’s definitely hard on a small business.”

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