Chicago restaurant workers, customers react to end of mask mandate: 'It's like a weight being lifted'

Matthew Gutowski, one of the managers at Replay in Andersonville, says it's a relief not to have to check peoples' vaccination status. 

"It's like a weight being lifted," said Gutowski.

"It feels great," said Andrew Scott, a Monday night customer. "It's just great to be able to see everyone smile again."

"I feel so free!" added another customer.  "I get to wear lipstick, I get to show my smile, so it's just a great feeling for me."

"I'm pretty stoked, and I think a lot of our staff members are as well," said Gutowski. "Feels like the end of an era. We're pretty happy about it. It's been a long two years, and we've done everything we can to keep everyone safe and think we feel like it's time."


After temporarily closing at the beginning of January because of the burden of being the mask and vaccination "police," the Irish Nobleman in West Town is excited to be back up and running without the mandates.

"We're getting a lot of comments on our Facebook, everyone's excited that we're reopened," said owner Declan Morgan.  "We took down our sign today that said masks were required, so a lot of people were excited about that."

Replay is reserving a section for those who still feel more comfortable in masks.