By Laura Haefeli

NEVADA CITY (CBS13) – California is just weeks away from June 15, when pre-pandemic life returns. But some small businesses in Nevada County are a bit ahead of the curve.

Nevada City shoppers are shedding their layers, but not for summer California Organics staff and customers are going maskless now.

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“We’re mask-optional. What I try and do is make this place work for them. Very few of them are wearing masks,” said Chris Kysar, president of California Organics. “At the peak of this all we were sanitizing every handle, we had the shields up, everybody is wearing masks.”

But as the light at the end of the tunnel approaches, they’re ready to drop the mask completely.

“The CDC scientists are president have all said… if you’re vaccinated you are good to go,” said Kysar.

The CDC does say fully vaccinated people can go back to pre-pandemic life, without masks or physical distancing: “… except where required by federal, state, local… rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” – Source: CDC.gov

Local public health officials tell us Nevada County is still in the red tier, which means masks indoors are still required.

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“Specifically for Nevada county, I just don’t think we’re really there yet. The people behind the deli didn’t have masks on. I’m not ready to give up my mask.,” said Kathy Dotzon, who lives in Nevada City.

The store is sandwiched between Nevada City and Grass Valley.

“We’ve always had a bit of a polarization in our county because of the population that lives here,” she said.

Dotzon says the mask mandate has divided the two towns even more.

“It pins people against each other and it’s not the way we want to live it really breaks up our community,” she says.

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During the height of the pandemic, California Organics was issued several citations for violating guidelines. CBS13 reached out to public health to ask if they planned on enforcing red tier restrictions they have not gotten back to us.