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"We just wanna stay open" | Gus's Good Times Deli asks community to wear masks

The deli said that if one of their employees tested positive for COVID-19, they would be forced to close — possibly for good.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Many small businesses are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the number of coronavirus cases surges in Knox County, some business owners are worried about more restrictions being put in place to stop the spread.

A popular restaurant in Knoxville, Gus's Good Times Deli, is asking people to help them stay open by wearing masks when indoors. They posted a message on their Facebook page asking people to wear face masks to avoid spreading COVID-19 and prevent employees from entering quarantine.

"For us, quarantine means closing possibly for good," Aaron Hale, a co-owner of the deli, said in the post on Facebook. "There's a Burger King on every corner but there isn't another Gus's. This isn't political. We just wanna stay open. Please wear a mask."

Hale said that he posted the message because they had a comment on social media about people coming into the restaurant to eat without a mask. None of the workers said anything to them about not wearing a mask, he said.

"We a mask if you're going to be indoors somewhere. Just put on a mask and wear it," he said. "If it's not for you, or if you don't believe that masks work — wear it to make other people feel comfortable or make them feel safer."

All the employees at Gus's Good Times Deli wear a mask, he said. The restaurant also has plastic barriers up and employees use gloves, he said.

Hale said that he thinks it's silly for a business to enforce wearing maks, and wants people to be more considerate of others.