Business owners approve, adjust to statewide mask mandate


BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — For anyone down for a game of mini golf, needing their coffee fix, determined for a rock climbing challenge, or all of the above, Kevin Traube has those customers covered, thanks to three businesses he owns on Harper Road in Beckley.

For him, running a good business in Chocolate Moose, Mountain State Miniature Golf, and Outside-In Climbing Gym is about being a good member of the community, particularly when looking out for the well-being of both his staff and his patrons.

“Wearing masks, being safe, cleaning… it’s all taking care of the public,” Traube said. “It’s all playing a role in the health and safety of us all.”

But with a recent spike in cases, desperate times called for desperate measures, with Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) mandating face coverings in indoor buildings where social distancing is not possible.

Although this accounts for two of Traube’s businesses, the property has an outdoor deck to help further accommodate.

“Folks have a good outside option that gets them out of the building, and allows them to visit without really feeling constrained by wearing a mask because it’s easier to social distance there.”

Since most businesses anticipated it ahead of time, Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Michelle Rotellini, said not a single member of the chamber voiced concerns about enforcing the mask mandate, with about 95 percent of county businesses already requiring their employees to do the same.

“It took a little bit of the gray area out of it for them,” Rotellini said. “People were almost relieved… so [they] don’t have to fight it… We have to figure out how to do the things we love to do, how to conduct business, and how to do it safely.”

For Traube, who already had his businesses operating stricter cleaning and sanitation procedures, he has no issue with the mandate.

“We all need to pull together to get through this time that we’re in,” Traube said. “It’s not really a problem, because it’s for a period of time that we’re all doing for the common good.”

Rotellini sees the mandate as a temporary setback setting the community up for a comeback.

“It’s a small sacrifice to keep us moving forward,” Rotellini said.

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