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New stadium, some live venues among local businesses where masks now recommended, not required

The stage at The Crown Uptown Theatre in Wichita.
The stage at The Crown Uptown Theatre in Wichita.(KWCH 12)
Published: May. 14, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The CDC says fully vaccinated people can now be in most indoor settings or outdoors without a mask. Some Wichita businesses are changing their requirements. Among them are some live performance venues and Riverfront Stadium where the Wichita Wind Surge play their home games.

“We’re going to strongly recommend that that people wear masks, but we’re not going to make that a requirement moving forward,” said Wichita Wind Surge Senior Manager, Fan Experience Bob Moullette. “We will have all of our pat-time, full-time members wear masks, just to kind of continue to be safe.”

WAVE, The Cotillion and Crown Uptown Theatre are among local live venues also strongly recommending, but not requiring masks.

“We’re going to continue to take that advice but encourage strongly that guests wear masks when they’re not at their tables eating or drinking, any time they’re up and about, moving,” said Crown Upton Theatre Executive Director Max Wilson.

WAVE and Cotillion Operating Partner Jessie Hartke said the venues’ employees will continue wearing masks at all shows.

“We encourage our patrons to also wear masks, but we’re really stressing the importance of or community to get vaccinated,” he said. “That’s our best bet at stopping the spread.”

The representatives of Wichita entertainment options each said this is an exciting step forward for their businesses which were hit especially hard during the pandemic.

“I think it’s everyday (is) a little bit more famililar to what we’re used to doing, what, over two years ago, right?” Moulette said.

Last year what was supposed to have been the Wind Surge’s inaugural season in Wichita was canceled due to the pandemic. The team finally took the field at Riverfront Stadium earlier this week.

Wilson said the mask recommendation and encouragement for people to get vaccinated is all about staying open.

‘We don’t want to extend the lockdown or do anything that might threaten our ability to get back to it,” he said.

Hatke said he hopes to see crowds return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I hope that our community comes back and supports this vital part of the community,” he said. “Just again, I really hope that everyone that can, goes out and gets vaccinated so we don’t have the fear of being shut down.”

Walmart, Kroger (including Dillons grocery stores) and Home Depot are among big businesses beyond the local level that are going to continue requiring masks. Trader Joe’s on Friday afternoon, May 14, announced that it is dropping the mask requirement, becoming the first major retailer to do so.

It’s important to remember that any business can have its own requirements, so it’s a good idea to continue to keep a mask with you.

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