SANTA ANA, Calif. — Maria Lozano breaks the ice by letting others know it's frustrating to have to wear a mask while serving diners who don't.

As the manager of Cafe Cultura in downtown Santa Ana, Lozano believes it is time for some changes.

What You Need To Know

  • The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently said that if one person in a business is not vaccinated, then everyone is required to wear a mask

  • Cal/OSHA retracted that order and is now planning on revisiting the regulation on June 17

  • A local restaurant manager said that all the changing mask rules have caused much confusion for businesses

  • She believes since cases have decreased, that wearing a mask should be a personal choice

"When the pandemic was at its peak, and we had to do take-out only, for everybody's safety, obviously we required everybody to wear it because they weren't dining in," Lozano said. "Now that everybody is dining in, it is a little bit confusing."

Lozano said she is confused by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration's rule changes on mask orders and sometimes deals with customers who feel comfortable walking in without a mask since they are vaccinated. She explained how the whole exchange is uncomfortable and unclear.

"They'll walk in without a mask, and it's still our protocol to ask to wear it. Of course, most people do have it, so they will wear it. But those who don't, sometimes at this point, I'm kind of like, 'It's OK, we'll still serve you because we're doing the same thing with customers who are dining in."

Last week, Cal/OSHA stated that going forward — even after June 15 — if everyone isn't vaccinated, then everyone has to wear a mask. However, the agency had a follow-up meeting and changed its mind, reverting to the old order requiring masks indoors at all times.

That's why Red Anaya, owner of Cafe Cultura, joined a protest nearby in Santa Ana with other business owners to critique Cal/OSHA's actions.

"I don't see the need of us to actually go around and ask our employees if they want to get the vaccine or if they don't, or treat them any differently if they do or don't," Anaya said. "I believe it's a personal choice."

Lozano agrees with Anaya's approach and believes that exposing those who are not vaccinated within the business could cause others to feel targeted. She believes that at this point, with cases decreasing, everyone should be able to make their own decision on whether they choose to wear a mask or not.

"I feel like the solution should just now be a personal choice," Lozano said. "So like, if as a business you feel like not everyone on the team is comfortable, great, then we'll continue it. But it should always be a choice."