Walking into Smoketown Brewing Creekside on Sagner Avenue last weekend, guests were greeted by a smiling staff.

For the first time in more than a year, they could actually see those smiles.

Owner Dave Blackmon said his staff is 100 percent vaccinated. Given the choice, all of his employees have gone unmasked. Many customers have, too.

Last Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that masks are no longer required in indoor or outdoor settings, except for schools, public transit and medical establishments. However, he allowed businesses to choose whether they would still require masks.

Many businesses, such as Smoketown, have opted to pass on the masks. Blackmon said his staff feels safe and ready to move forward.

“We’ve been watching the science like everyone else, daily, for 14 months,” Blackmon said. “I think the governor handled it really well, and we agree that we’re safe and it’s time to take them off.”

Other businesses, such as Jerk N’ Jive Caribbean Kitchen on Prospect Boulevard and the Record Exchange on Market Street, are asking both staff and customers to continue wearing masks.

“We’re not going to change anything right now. I think it’s too early to just jump out ... and I understand that 70 percent of Americans have had at least one shot,” said James Smith, owner of Jerk N’ Jive. “My issue would be with making people uncomfortable who are coming in.”

About 41.5 percent of Frederick County residents are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Frederick County Health Department.

At The Pasta Palette on North Market Street downtown, a sign on the door advised customers that masks were still required unless they were fully vaccinated. 

For the most part, people have been OK with it, employee Pam Susa said.

At Zoe’s Chocolate Co., Nicole Mehring said most customers have been OK with them still requiring masks, with only one or two people pushing back.

At the start of the pandemic, “there was definitely a learning curve” with people remembering masks, she said.

But they probably had a bigger problem with people not understanding the limits on capacity that were in place until recently, Mehring said.

On Friday afternoon, after the CDC announcement but before Hogan lifted the state mask mandate, The Record Exchange owner Sam Lock said his store would still require masks for the time being.

Lock had recently gotten his second shot and was waiting to become fully inoculated.

He’d had two or three customers come in that day without masks, but all immediately put one on when asked.

One man even went to a store next door and bought a mask, Lock said.

Still, other businesses are following the guidance from the CDC that allows fully vaccinated people to remove their masks in public places. Brewer’s Alley on Market Street posted a sign on their door reading “Vaccinated customers can remove their masks.”

But Brewer’s employees are not going to ask if customers are vaccinated, said manager Elias Lazo. The hope is that people play by the honor system.

“So far it went well. We didn’t have any issues,” Lazo said. “We don’t know if people are actually vaccinated or not, but that’s up to them.”


Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that the staff at The Pasta Palette were not all fully vaccinated. 

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter:


Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(48) comments


I'm glad Wegman's kept their mask requirement, at least as of last weekend.


If businesses have the means, I suggest they demand maskless patrons show their vaccine passport prior to entry. Otherwise mask up to protect children, those who have not had time to get the vaccine yet, and immunosuppressed people.

Greg F

It's a shame people can't respect a business decision to keep masks as part of their protocol. I'll patronize those that do without any problem...both knowing that it will protect others who haven't been vaccinated (not of their choice) and those who have that may still have immunity issues that may not make the vaccine as protective as it is for most. Also, that it will help to ensure that workers who have other illnesses that would show up with flu or other because they can't afford to miss a paycheck and instead disguise they are sick will see less of a chance to infect others as well. We all know the employee who is so "dedicated" they'd rather give the plague to their coworkers than stay home for a day or two. I'll continue wearing one knowing that though the risk of spreading while vaccinated is vastly reduced, it is not eliminated. If I go into a business where they don't require one...it may depend on how busy it is or closed in it is as to whether or not I stick around. I also find that the good masks like N95 filter out a lot of the colognes and perfumes that I am greatly affected by also...and even the KN95 cut out the cleaning chemical smells that are overwhelming in some places that I'm sure can't be healthy to breathe in also.


“The hope is that people play by the honor system.” Gotta love the eternal optimism.




GregF, in your own words, explain the science of how you wearing a mask after you've been vaccinated protects anyone else.


This is straightforward; people who have been vaccinated can still catch COVID. No vaccine is 100% effective, even if it greatly reduces the chance of getting COVID and reduces the subsequent severity of the illness. But that doesn't mean that vaccinated people cannot get sick and pass that illness to someone else. Masks with COVID are as much about protecting others as protecting yourself (which is why it is primarily selfish pricks who have not been wearing them).

Guy T. Ashton

Furthermore, a vaccinated person can have the virus and show no symptoms. Bill Maher, 10 New York Yankees, all in the news this week.


The vaccines available right now ALL reduce the spread of COVID to the point it's negligent, it is 100% effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. This is the main reason CDC is dropping requirements for masks for vaccinated people. Please do some basic research before spreading mistruths.


Thanks, vodalone. It's funny how it's been all about follow the science and the data up until it becomes inconvenient for the pro maskers and pro controllers. Nancy Pelosi and her house rules are a perfect example.

I suspect some people will be wearing masks for a long time just for the opportunity to do some virtue signalling. I saw one in the Costco parking lot yesterday driving through with gloves and mask and he was in his car alone.

GregF.... were you at Costco yesterday?


Only 88 fully vaccinated Americans have died from Covid - which is about 1 in a million vaccinees. There is a good chance that "breakthrough" strains will emerge in the US, but I think it is reasonable to go without masks once fully vaccinated - at least for now. But for those who think Covid is over - no, it is not nearly over. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/covid-19-vaccines-are-more-than-90-effective-what-that-means


Dang Bosco, You said you would not accuse mask wearers of virtue signaling. Will your hypocrisy never end?


threecents, did I say I was accusing people of virtue signaling? I said some may use it as an opportunity to do some virtue signalling. If someone wants to wear a mask from now on that's fine with me and it won't affect me, just don't wear a mask when the science doesn't support it and expect me to follow.

I will, as I've said before respect a business that requires masks and hope they will respect my decision to shop where masks are not required.

It's a complicated issue.


Vodalone; I think you mean "negligible" and not "negligent". And yes, it is pretty low. But it is not zero. As we have seen, the vaccinated Yankees got COVID. And new variants are around. Until things stabilize I will still wear masks in enclosed places with lots of people I do not know. As you repeated from my post, the vaccinations reduce your chance of getting sick very low and also decrease the chances of getting very sick if you do catch COVID. But it clearly is not zero. Bosco asked a simple question and my answer was accurate.


@bosco the vaccines are about 90% effective, so 1 in 10 people will still catch it (and potentially spread it) after being vaccinated. That is the science.


geotracker....the CDC director said back in early April:

"Vaccinated people do not carry the virus — they don’t get sick,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday. That’s “not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”

That is the science. If you have a problem with the science, take it up with the CDC.


Bosco, I don't know where you got that from but vaccinated people can definitely carry the virus. Very few - if any - vaccines offer "sterilizing immunity" where the microorganism will not grow in an exposed vaccinated person. Many vaccinated people - including those NY Yankees - became infected with Covid after being fully vaccinated. True, they probably don't have high viral loads, so are less likely to spread infection, but it is not impossible. The bigger worry is that unvaccinated people will go without masks. Experts believe unvaccinated people with subclinical infections continue to be major spreaders of the pandemic.


threecents, it's a quote from the CDC director. Take it up with her. You should be able to find it if the Google editors still allow it.


bosco; people have learned more things since April. In fact, science learns new things all the time, particularly with an evolving virus. We have seen that vaccinated people DO get sick, though at a very low rate and with generally mild to no symptoms. But they can infect non-vaccinated people.


1 in 10 may catch it, but there is no evidence they will spread it. Them catching it would make them asymptomatic if vaccinated therefore much less likely to spread it. This question was posed to Fauci during a Senate hearing several weeks ago. He essentially stated because the amount of virus in the nasal faring's is so miniscule, chance of spreading is basically non-existent.


@bosco, actually, if you continue to read the article that you cited, it says "Even the Centers for Disease Control hedged on Walensky’s claims. “Dr. Walensky spoke broadly during this interview,” a CDC spokesperson told the Times. “It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get Covid-19. The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence.”" So you might want to read the entire article before you act like a know-it-all on here, thanks.


Well what do you know, I believed Fauci last year when he said there was no reason for Americans to be wearing masks and now I believed the CDC director when she said there was no evidence that vaccinated people spread Covid. If one can't trust the top scientists, who can we trust?

Greg F

Gee bonzo....we all know that masks will help stop viruses from getting OUT...unless you're the selfish slob that wears the ventilated version. And both CDC and NIH both say that though indications are that vaccines have reduced spread, they have not stopped vaccinated folks from getting infected AND spreading it asymptomatically. Plenty of articles around so get off your lazy behind and find one...and some of us know people in NIH. It also does stop FLU and other viruses so COVID protection is not just one of them. Are you really that daft or just pretending to be to show face in front of your RRR friends?

Greg F

Since I know Bonzo won't go find an article, here's a fairly recent one...and don't forget we live on a planet where the plague is still rampant where variants are popping up whack-a-mole style with who knows what consequences. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html

Greg F

No, B...I was not at Costco....thanks for checking. ◔_◔


Funny Bosco asking to explain something in their own words. When he won’t say in your own words whether you did or didn’t work for the postal service. You want me to confirm where you worked.🙇‍♂️ What else do you need help with?


While I agree with much of your post GregF, KN95 masks are for particulate, not chemicals, and would not reduce the concentration of the cologne or whatever solvent you may be breathing. You may have a placebo effect there.


Private businesses have the right to require masks, shirts, shoes, whatever to enter their business. If you don't like it as a patron, you have the right to not partake of that business and go elsewhere, or put your mask on. I had that happen at fedex on Patrick St. yesterday and so I went to Staples instead who does not require a mask, and I publicized this on FB. I was at the courthouse yesterday and they require a mask, I think that's wrong, but I have no choice so I wore a mask. BUT, the police officer checking people in would not let me wear my blue line mask in support of police officers, made me turn it around to the black side, told me it was chief judge Barbera's order. That is a restriction of my free speech...in a courthouse and that is a problem. The officers at the scanners were very upset about this and told me to go ahead and wear it the way I wanted.

Greg F

The problem is you, not the courthouse.






No, sorry Greg, but the problem is the possible coo-coo violent response by the perps being arraigned! OMG. Ya gotta wonder......




goodtimerockandroll, unless it has been expanded, the ban on the blue line masks applies to court personnel working in the District Courts in Maryland, not to private citizens. It was implemented by the Chief Judge of the District Court system after it was pointed out that these could create a perception of bias in the court system in favor of the police in criminal and other matters. Chief Judge Morrisey agreed that blue line masks, pins, etc. (along with items that "may be perceived as showing bias or favoritism to a particular group of people") "could undermine the District Court's mission of fair, efficient, and effective justice for all and call into question the Judiciary's obligation to remain impartial and unbiased" and therefore should not be worn by court staff while at work.


Do they allow BLM masks?


How about Kente cloth masks?


There shouldn’t be any political paraphernalia worn by public office employees while working. Not even postal workers. Kente cloth is not political. It’s a textile like denim (100% cotton dyed in indigo both cultivated in North American by slave labor). Do you wear jeans? Kente cloth is made of handwoven cloth strips of silk and cotton, a popular material worldwide.


If Kente cloth is not political, why did Pelosi and Schumer wrap some Kente cloth around their neck and take a knee? The left made it political.


I guess Bosco, in respect for John Lewis‘s African heritage. You know like at Reagan’s funeral they wore Scottish dress with feathers in their hats playing bagpipes. Maybe jeans would have been more appropriate. What was your “take away”? Was that political?


As a follow-up, when I went there today, I informed the check in person of exactly what you just pointed out and he gave me a thumbs up and said thank you for the information and I wore my blue line mask all day.


Oh God love you, that this level of impingement on your life sends you to fb broadcasting.


So taking a mask and reversing it to put the side that has been catching all the little Covids so it is noe on the outside so that your breaths are now blowing them out into the room is OK?


Good lord bosco, can you ever respond without trying to push someone's button.


Why does pointing out hypocrisy and idiocy bother you so much, hayduke? Are those buttons making a connection? [lol][lol][lol][lol]


The only connection is to the button to flush your comments bosco...


Actually the mask I have probably has almost 0 capability of catching any Covid, but it makes everyone happy so I wear it.


Kudos to the police officer for enforcing the rules.


Gabe, did FedEx say you need to wear a mask, or did they say you need to wear but not a blue lives matter mask? Can they do that? One officer said you couldn’t display a political mass, another officer said you could. That’s a problem. Who manages security over the court house? They need to get their act together. But I’m not following the comparison of your FedX experience to the court house.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!