On Friday, Branson’s new face covering mandate went into  effect. On Thursday, the Branson Tri-Lakes News sought reactions from local business owners and operators, as well as from residents and visitors.


Randy Ryel, owner of Steamy Joe Cafe:

“Well I was against the ordinance. I don’t think there’s enough evidence supporting the wearing of masks to make a broad mandate. People can choose to wear the mask or not, but to force everyone to use a mask I think is not good. I don’t think it’s right but I will submit. But, I don’t like it.”


Susie Roten, owner of Branson Cafe:

“I am very disappointed. There should be no mandate.”


Mike Patrick, executive producer of Grand Country Music Hall:

“I would rather have seen a proclamation with a positive message such as: ‘Welcome to Branson! Face coverings welcomed and encouraged. Have a great visit!’”


Erin Wicker, owner of Wild Orange Boutique: 

“I will gladly wear a mask if it helps our community get back to life. However, what hurts my heart is the great dissension that is happening among community members. Let’s work together to live in harmony with each other, no matter our opinions on the subject.”


Duane Rogers, owner of Pizza World/Starvin Marvins:

“I’m not in favor of it for the main reason that I believe people don’t have a problem wearing a mask. They have a problem with being told they have to wear a mask. It’s going to create some chaos in the business itself with the folks coming in.”


Dane Ulrich, co owner of Oscar’s Famous Ribs:

“There is no easy decision when it comes to trying to protect people’s health or protect their rights and privileges. It’s a position that I would not want to be put into when determining what is best for an entire community, but we believe that we need to respect our aldermen’s decision and do the best that we can with it.”


John Moore, owner of Cakes-N-Creams 50’s Diner:

“The way I feel about the whole thing is, I don’t mind doing it if we have to do it, like the whole United States is practically having to do it. But the worst thing about the whole situation is being forced to do it and our city leaders thinking that we’re children and they have to think better than we do, because I really believe in the majority rules. I believe that the majority of the whole city did not want this law. I don’t think they want their tourists insulted by fining them $100, causing fights in restaurants and stores because people won’t wear masks.”


Matthew Hayes, manager of Amish Country Store

The majority of our customers thank us that we don’t make them wear masks because some choose to, to protect themselves or others as they say. Some people get upset with us that we’re not enforcing a mask deal to come in, there’s been a few. Being a tourist town and needing to take care of our tourists and their opinions when they say they’re against it, it just kind of seems ridiculous to not listen to the majority on it, is the way we feel. We all depend on it, the towns’ hurt enough as it is.”


Patrick Haygood, co-owner of Mr. B’s Ice Cream:

“We intend to follow the law and to bless as many people as possible with some delicious ice cream at Mr. B’s.”


Amanda Stout, head baker at Sugar Leaf Bakery & Cafe:

“I think our opinion is that we hope that, just because people don’t have the option to choose, that our visitors still come. That’s our worry, that visitors had a right to choose whether they wanted to wear one or not wear one and so, by mandating it, we’re just hoping it doesn’t hurt people wanting to vacation in Branson.”


Craig Wescott, CEO and co-owner of The Track Family Fun Parks:

“No matter what the outcome of the vote was this week, we were ready to remain focused on making the best of this health situation, operating safely, and creating fun for people in the midst of a tough year. We have many friends across the country in the entertainment industry that are not even allowed to open their doors at all. So, we are grateful that the conversation here still involves welcoming guests to our community and through our doors, and we will continue to make whatever temporary adjustments are necessary to keep it that way.”


Andy Tummons, Branson resident:

“Nobody enjoys wearing a mask, but there are times that we need to listen to our doctors and our scientists. We have to remember that a small inconvenience to ourselves could help keep our neighbors and visitors safe”


Paige Burgess, of Sunnyvale, California

“I’m from somewhere where we’ve been doing it for a long time, so we’re used to it.”


Ivory Phillips, of St. Louis, Missouri

“My personal opinion is whatever we can do to help out.”


Lucy Davis, of Warner, Oklahoma

“Better safe than sorry. Better safe than sick.”


Sam Davis, of Warner, Oklahoma

“I think it’s OK. I think it should be because, you know, if it will help. Although we don’t have one right now, it’s not too much trouble to wear a mask. We usually wear a mask. I think it’s fine, I don’t have a problem with it.”


Kaellen Kennedy, area resident

“I think it’s kind of annoying, but if that’s what we have to do, then that’s what we gotta do. Just ready for it all to be over and kind of move on with my life.”


Joel Lamb, who lives between Houston and Austin, Texas

“I’ve really tried to research it from both angles ‘cause I have friends with COVID. None of them have been seriously sick, in fact most of them didn’t even know they had anything. But, from my research on it, I think the masks are pretty much a joke. I think we need the exposure to build up the antibodies, and I just think it’s wrong. Now, I think the virus is real, it’s not bacterial, I think you need it to build up the antibodies and I think we need to protect people that are vulnerable, mostly the people that have serious health issues. From everything that I can study in research, that’s what I think. So, I think the people caved in, is what they did, to try to appear to be nice, and I think they were foolish in their leadership decision.”


Sondra Griffith, of Maumelle, Arkansas

“I’m for it.”


NOTE: This next quote refers to a sign Branson businesses are now required to display. The sign reads: “It is a violation of the law to enter the premises without a face covering. If you do not feel well, please go home. Please maintain at least six feet (6’) of distance between individuals that are not family members or do not reside together.”


Tammy Roberts, owner of Gettin’ Basted:

“(It will) Hurt. They want to cut our capacity by half again and post a very hatefully worded law on our business. I am a proponent of wearing a mask, not being mandated to enforce it on my customers.”

(2) comments


One person said it best, it is being ordered to do this that galls a lot of people. I for one, do not like it. Suggesting is one thing, ordering is quite another. And when you put a sign on the door that says you have to do it, then I'm not coming to your town.


We're homesick for Branson, and have a trip scheduled in 3 weeks (after having to cancel earlier when the hotel closed!) . We're in an area with lots of restrictions, including mandated masks, and are happy to do whatever it takes to make sure things stay open and people stay well. (Just buy a few really cute masks and make it fun, people!) Branson is always such a positive experience, and we need some time there as often as possible. I hope everyone there will band together in any steps needed so the rest of us can visit and restore our outlook on life!

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