By Christina Hager

WALTHAM (CBS) – A couple of protesters showed up at Waltham’s Government Center to urge against a mask mandate. It was the subject of a special meeting Wednesday.

Earlier on Moody Street, the owner of Raj Collections pulled out a pile of masks she had made during the height of the pandemic. Raj Sxarma was glad to have one when a customer walked in without one. Even before city officials took up the issue, she had already put up a “masks required” sign in her shop. “If I’m very careful, and you are not, I’m still in trouble,” she said.

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If it becomes a rule, Waltham would join a list of other communities requiring masks inside public spaces, like neighboring Belmont. Last night, Salem voted in a similar mandate to start later this month.

Justin Mattera, owner of Longboard Café and Bar, has just about had it. “Enough’s enough. This small little mask requirement is another kick for small businesses,” he said.

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Back in Waltham, the owner of In A Pickle restaurant said he’s ready for whatever the city decides to do. “It’s all self-policing,” he said. “That does create some friction between us and the customer.”

An indoor mask mandate in Waltham would be in keeping with the CDC’s guidelines. But what gets confusing is the state’s guidance does not call for indoor masks unless a person has an underlying medical condition or lives with someone who does.

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In Waltham, the health department did not take a vote Wednesday’s meeting. Instead, the board scheduled a meeting for Sept. 8, where it will hear public comments on a mask mandate.

Christina Hager