‘Slice’ of life after new CDC guidance: Alexandria pastry shop embraces optional mask wearing

Masks are no longer required for those who are fully vaccinated in Virginia and the Alexandira Pastry Shop is embracing the change. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Masks are no longer required for those who are fully vaccinated in Virginia, and one local business is embracing the change.

Tucked away in the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria, Tess York is usually behind the counter at her family’s shop, the Alexandria Pastry Shop. The shop has been serving up sweets to the community for nearly 33 years, and many of the bakers have been there just as long.

“We are very much a family,” York said.

The pandemic has taken a toll on business, but on Monday there was a new sign on the shop door: “Per CDC and Governor Northam we no longer require masks for Fully Vaccinated guests.”

It’s a small orange sign in the window above a Help Wanted sign and the shop’s hours. But to York, it’s something more.

“I think that that’s a huge sign of progress. That’s what we’ve been waiting for, that’s why we’ve gotten vaccinated,” she said.

She was the first to take off the mask and says it will take some getting used to.

“Saturday I worked, and I did not wear a mask, I wore bright red lipstick and I was bracing myself,” for any conflicts with customers, who may feel differently about going without masks. None of her customers have questioned the business’ decision, she said.

Instead, she said, she has helped many of them schedule appointments to get vaccinated.

“I’m so glad that we can move forward,” she added.

Customers are OK with the move, even if they aren’t quite ready to ditch the coverings themselves.

Dana Johnson, who was browsing the shop Monday, said she’s OK with the optional mask policy. While she will continue to wear her mask, she said she’s looking forward to eventually visiting her favorite bakery without one.

“It’s nice seeing our country and our state getting back to normal,” she added.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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