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St. Augustine's Columbia Restaurant Reinstates Masks Amid COVID Spike

Columbia Restaurant
Via Facebook
A view of the interior of the Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine.

Florida’s governor continues to prohibit local governments from enforcing mask mandates  — but at least one area business is voluntarily requiring its own staff to return to wearing face masks at work.

The Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine is bringing back the requirement amid a spike in COVID-19 infections—driven by the Delta variant.

The Tampa-based family-owned Columbia Restaurant Group chain of 7-Spanish food eateries in Florida is also encouraging everyone who can to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“We are choosing to be proactive for everyone’s health without waiting for a directive from the CDC,” said Columbia Restaurant Group President and CEO Richard Gonzmart on the company’s Facebook page.

Columbia opened its first restaurant in Tampa’s Ybor City in 1905.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.