‘We’re Used to Dealing with the Unknown’

Most shop owners in Highlands require masks

With one hand on their livelihood and the other on the pulse of COVID-19, Beacon business owners have spent the last 18 months navigating a minefield of health department guidelines that have tested their leadership skills and patience. 

Play in Beacon

A sign in the window of Play in Beacon (Photo by Jeff Simms)

Without a mask mandate, New York relies on shop and restaurant owners to use their best judgment on enforcing face coverings. 

Ryan Leoni, the owner of b. Hair Studio at 323 Main St., said he anticipates another statewide mask mandate, and notes his relief at having a fully vaccinated staff.

“When the last mask mandate was lifted, we still took precaution and kept our plastic dividers up longer than most salons,” Leoni said. “I’ve had my whole staff put masks on so one customer could feel more comfortable.

“I have a son at home who is too young to be vaccinated, so if cases start to rise — even if a mandate doesn’t happen — I won’t hesitate to mask-up myself,” he added. 

Kitty Sherpa co-owns the Beacon Natural Market at 348 Main, which has a “Mask Preferred” sign on the door. “We’re lucky our space is bigger than most, so people can socially distance,” she said. “But I’ve been paying close attention to the case count, and we’re always ready to change on a dime.

“I don’t think the CDC [federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and state have done a great job in preparing small-business owners for these constant changes. We’re used to dealing with the unknown, but it can be exhausting to keep up.”

As an example, she cited an “informative” conversation in the spring with a customer who refused to wear a mask.

“I learned that the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] allows an individual to lawfully refuse to wear a mask,” if there are extenuating circumstances such as asthma or other challenges breathing, Sherpa said. “I was frustrated that I wasn’t in the know with that law.”

(According to the Southeast ADA Center and Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, “the ADA does not have any rules that address the required use of face masks by state and local governments or private business owners.” The ADA only requires stores to make “reasonable” accommodations, such as allowing a customer to wear a face shield or scarf or to pick up orders curbside.)

Other Beacon business owners, like Jean Mignault of Mr. V’s Deli, at 297 Main St., are more optimistic. Mignault has her team take some precautions, like wearing gloves when preparing food, but she relies on the honor system when it comes to customers. “As long as our customers are vaccinated, I don’t mind if they come in unmasked,” she said. “All of us [the staff] have been vaccinated for a while now.”

Main Street Masks

We asked Kat Merry to take a stroll up and down Main Street in Beacon and Cold Spring and take note of posted mask policies.


Required for Entry

  • Fountain Square Laundromat
  • The Blushery
  • Dancing Crane Acupuncture
  • Beacon Aesthetics
  • MP MariePierre Art
  • Miss Tea
  • Hudson Valley Marshmallow
  • Howland Cultural Center
  • Chase Bank
  • Roosa & Roosa 
  • Attorneys
  • Society of Lash
  • School of Rock
  • Beacon Barbershop
  • The Laboratory
  • Pizza & Stuff
  • Quinn’s
  • Hudson Valley Credit Union
  • Yanarella School of Dance
  • Happy Valley Arcade Bar
  • Kumon
  • Subway
  • Laundry World
  • New Fu Xing
  • Homespun Foods
  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • Sunoco
  • M&T Bank
  • Paws and Mittens
  • Artisan Wine Shop
  • Hudson Beach Glass
  • Colorant
  • Tito Santana
  • Beacon Creamery
  • Utensil
  • Pandorica
  • Play
  • Beetle and Fred
  • Reserva Wine Bar*
  • Zakka Joy
  • Luxe Optique
  • Dutchess County Center
  • Scarborough Fair
  • Matcha Thomas
  • The Studio @ Beacon
  • Howland Public Library
  • Binnacle Books
  • Beacon Wellness Pharmacy
  • Pacha Barbershop
  • Beacon Wine & Liquor
  • Beacon Post Office
  • Peaceful Provisions
  • Main Street Music
  • Beacon Veterinary Associates
  • Tabernacle of Christ
  • Campbell and Campbell


  • Kitchen & Coffee
  • Berte
  • Tibet Tree
  • Black Bird Attic
  • Citizens Bank
  • Batt Florist
  • Rite-Aid
  • Lady Gray Bridal
  • Key Foods
  • Max’s on Main
  • Accutax Accounting Services
  • Bank Square Coffeehouse
  • Flora Good Times
  • Mr. V’s Deli
  • Beacon Reads 
  • Psychedelic Sunset Vintage
  • B. Hair Studio
  • Beacon Beehive
  • Beacon D’Lites
  • Verizon
  • After Eden Gallery
  • Trax
  • Liquid Fables
  • Raven Rose

*Not yet open, but sign in window



Required for Entry

  • Joseph’s Fine Jewelry
  • Spice Revolution
  • Cold Spring Florist
  • Wyld
  • Hudson Hil’s Cafe & Market
  • The Blue Olive
  • The Country Goose
  • Vintage Violet
  • Damn Aged Vintage
  • Reservoir
  • Split Rock Books
  • Antique Alley
  • Village Hall
  • Cold Spring Candy Co.
  • Understory Marker
  • Houlihan Lawrence
  • Poor George
  • Pink Olive
  • Sweet Harvest
  • The Gift Hut
  • Cold Spring Coffeehouse
  • Cold Spring Cheese Shop


  • Supplies for Creative Living
  • Cold Spring Apothecary
  • Old Souls
  • Cold Spring Pizza
  • C&E Paint Supply

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