Watch CBS News

'I Just Don't Want To Take A Chance': South Shore Business Owners Not Ready For Everyone To Be Maskless

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As more people go without masks, some in communities with low vaccination rates are hesitant.

CBS 2's Steven Graves checked in with South Shore business owners who said masking up isn't going away anytime soon.

Right now, the Perfect Pieces boutique in South Shore is open for business, but not really open to the idea of fully vaccinated shoppers going maskless just yet.

"The fact that it's so small and so personal, I just don't want to take the chance," said Kamara Reeves, boutique owner of Perfect Pieces.

Things are not as strict at the nearby Prana for Hair beauty salon.

"One on one, I'm not going to be the mask police," said Oluchi Zelda Opara, owner of Prana for Hair.

But the mask-up rule is still in place, specifically when people fill the waiting area.

"I just still think it's too soon to go without the masks," Opara said.

Chicago health leaders recently sided with the CDC, which said it's safe for fully vaccinated people to go mask-less in retail shops and hair salons.

But in South Side communities, vaccinations aren't as popular. Misinformation and distrust still come up in conversations as reasons why.

"It's more people up north that are getting vaccinated a lot of people in [our] community are not," said Reeves.

In zip codes like South Shore, about 23% of the area is fully vaccinated. Compare that to almost 50% in the Loop. Or 48% in Lincoln Park.

Back on the South Side, Chatham is only at 27%.

The South Shore Chamber of Commerce sees the shot as the key to economic growth. So restaurants are offering incentives like deals if you're vaccinated.

Many that were thriving during the pandemic because they already had take-out model in place. Businesses outside of that are struggling.

"Drive around the South Shore and you'll see that some of the businesses have actually closed," said Erick Soderberg of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce.

The mission now - to spread vaccine awareness. A slow process, but one these business owners hope is a safe one as time goes on.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.