APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) -- For Appleton's small businesses, the last few months have been defined by decision making.
"To finally have some statewide or guidance from a higher power was very helpful," Stone Arch Brewpub general manager Lucas Maggard said. "The removal of the stay at home order was very stressful on small businesses because we were left to make decisions."
Saturday was the first day of Governor Evers' statewide indoor mask mandate. Appleton previously had no mask ordinance in place.
"Initial reaction was a sigh of relief," Maggard said. "We've been doing everything we can from the get go to try and keep people safe. We understand that the restaurant is a difficult place to do that, but we've been taking the steps that we can, and just to see that from a statewide level, we're attacking it from all angles and have that additional protection, I was very happy to hear the news.
Maggard anticipated conflict and assured employees ahead of today that managers will take those situations off their plates. However, the mandate's start went smoothly.
"Today has been actually slightly relieving," Maggard said. "I haven't had anyone opposed to it. Everyone is thankful that we are taking serious steps to keep people safe."
Over at Pawffee Shop, a coffee shop paired with cat sanctuary, employees feel like the mask mandate actually helps business.
"Actually, I think this Saturday has been the busiest since we reopened due to the coronavirus," volunteer Karl Schmidt said.
"We had so many people in here this morning. We had a yoga class in here this morning, everyone had a mask on. It was no problem at all," attendant Jenny Knutson said.
Along with Stone Arch Brewpub and Pawffee Shop, Apricot Lane in the Fox Valley Mall requested but did not require patrons to wear a mask before today's mandate began.
"It's unfortunate but we're in this together, and we want to have our customers know that they're safe to come shopping with us and still have that fun, uplifting environment to come shopping in," assistant store manager Simone Harrison said.