BATON ROUGE, La. – Customers grabbing pastries at the Cupcake Junkie can choose to wear masks or not now that national and state mandates have been loosened for people who are fully vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Factoring into the owner’s flexibility at the Coursey Boulevard bakery is the knowledge that four workers are either fully or partially vaccinated, even if customers aren’t.

“Some people are coming in with masks, and that’s fine. Some others are not wearing masks, and that’s OK,” said owner Robyn Selders. “We’re not telling anyone what they can and can’t do because there’s no way to know” whether customers are fully vaccinated, Selders said. “The best thing is our staff is protected and they’re wearing masks.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most indoor settings, putting the mask-wearing decision on state and local governments and on individual businesses. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Friday that in light of the CDC guidance fully vaccinated people in Louisiana no longer have to wear masks indoors or in state government buildings — except in certain situations, such as schools, public transit, jails and prisons, and health care facilities as regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health.

The Cupcake Junkie is among tens of thousands of businesses in Baton Rouge and many more statewide now weighing their options between chipping in during a public health crisis and recognizing that as individuals get vaccinated the coronavirus pandemic is less deadly for many and the economy must trudge on.

“I am leaning towards not wearing a mask because almost all my employees and myself have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Emily Taylor, owner of Capital Heights Veterinary Clinic. “I am asking clients to wear a mask if they have not been vaccinated for more than two weeks.”

Taylor offered her employees a financial incentive to get the COVID-19 vaccine and nearly all of them did as lockdown restrictions loosened.

“I just hope the CDC knows what they are doing,” she said of the loosened mask rules.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana said the new CDC guidelines are welcome news because everyone is looking to resume normal routines after more than a year of dealing with the pandemic. However, the company said it will still require employees to wear masks when they are in the office. The majority of the insurers’ 1,800 local employees are continuing to work remotely and the offices remain closed to visitors.

“We will factor the new CDC guidance into our future plans for how we fully reopen our offices and what our workplace guidance will be when more employees and visitors are in the office,” the company said in a statement.

Will Edwards, who owns Kolache Kitchen, said he will still require customers and employees wear masks in his four Baton Rouge and New Orleans restaurants. Edwards said while he’s pleased the guidelines have changed, COVID-19 remains a pressing issue. “We’re going to stick with wearing masks for another 30 days,” he said.

Many national businesses have made decisions or are still processing Thursday’s surprise CDC announcement.

Trader Joe’s said it was no longer requiring customers to wear masks. Walmart said fully vaccinated shoppers and employees don’t need to wear masks. The retail giant is offering $75 bonuses to workers that provide proof of vaccination.

Target, CVS, Macy’s and Gap Inc. said they’re reviewing company mask policies in light of the new guidelines. The National Restaurant Association is also looking at the recommendations and is evaluating its COVID-19 operating guidance and best practices for restaurants.

Walgreens, Home Depot and the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods said they don’t immediately plan to change their policies advising face coverings be worn inside their stores.

Regions Financial Corp. will continue to have employees wear masks in its offices and its branches. It will request customers do the same.

Along Florida Boulevard, community-based Theatre Baton Rouge expects to still require masks for audience members.

“We are actually going to still be requiring masks for the time being, according with the state and local guidelines. In order for us to operate at full capacity the entire audience must be masked,” said Jenny Ballard, spokesperson at Theatre Baton Rouge. “If this changes we will reevaluate our mask mandate.”

For businesses that require close personal contact, some are taking a more conservative approach.

At The Massage Emporium in downtown Baton Rouge, General Manager Piper Ferguson and a team of nearly a dozen regular massage therapists have worked collaboratively to establish guidelines based on the latest scientific advice.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Ferguson said. “We specialize in touch so we are in very close proximity to other people and care about the safety of everyone who comes in and out of our doors.”

Demand for massage therapy services is exponential and the business could accommodate nearly double its current staff, but many therapists have been wary of the stability of an industry that had evaporated during the global health pandemic.

“We kept our mask mandate in check for clients or staff and everyone does get their temperature scanned at the door,” she said. “You do have to wear a mask unless you show your completed vaccination card. We don’t take a copy; we just need to see it to verify. We are going to fully support any PPE (personal protective equipment) our therapists feel comfortable wearing during the session.”

Event venues are navigating an ever-changing path in terms of rules in Louisiana.

The latest state Fire Marshal guidance is that event venues, such as the Lake House Reception Center on Old Hammond Highway, are still restricted in terms of capacity depending on how many guests wear a mask.

“We are still not able to be at 100% (capacity) unless everybody is wearing a mask,” said Lauren Marino, the director of operations of Lake House Reception Center, a seven-acre property.

If not everyone wears a mask, then the venue can only have 75% capacity. Staff are still required to wear a mask.

“I think we are going to do this forever anyway so it doesn’t really affect us,” Marino said about wearing masks at work. “We all wear little buttons that say, ‘I got my COVID vaccine’ so customers don’t worry.”