Satchel’s BBQ provides the best statement on whether to wear a mask in a public place.

I have been trying to come up with a concise statement to explain the recent change in the CDC mask regulations for folks going into public places. I wanted something simple, yet eloquent that took any confusion out of the decision.

Satchel’s BBQ is the ultimate small business restaurant in Ann Arbor, and has great food. They were hit hard by the pandemic and had to close one of their locations. Fortunately for all of us they survived.

Their commentary on masking wound up in my inbox, and it was a perfect summary of the issues. I reproduce it below, and if you ever get to Ann Arbor, look them up at 3035 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104!

From: Satchel’s BBQ <>

Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 3:48:37 PM EDT

Subject: To Mask Or Not To Mask…..That Is the Question

At Satchel’s BBQ I think we are all feeling a bit like Hamlet these days.   For the last year, the watchwords for many of us have been “safe” and “cautious”.  But last Thursday’s announcement by the Center for Disease Control that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in any setting” feels like a watershed moment.  Governor Whitmer followed suit and modified our state’s mandate the following day. 

The question many businesses (and individuals) now face is whether to remain safe and cautious (and continue to require masks) or to follow the guidance of the CDC and modify that mandate.  Satchel’s has decided to lift the mask requirement for fully vaccinated individuals.  If you have been fully vaccinated for more than two weeks, you are no loner required to wear a mask in the restaurant.   

We have tried to display an abundance of caution throughout the pandemic, protecting staff and customers alike.  We required masks.  We sanitized anything that didn’t move (and some things that did move!)  We screened employees for symptoms daily.   And it worked.  There have been no known infections amongst the staff or customers at Satchel’s during the pandemic.  

Oh, and one more thing.  We got vaccinated.  The entire staff at Satchel’s has either been fully vaccinated or is midway through the process.   Like many of you, we weighed the pros and cons of getting the vaccine, and ultimately decided it was well worth the risk.  The CDC’s recent announcement seems to simply state what scientists and researchers have been telling us: the vaccine works.  

Which brings us back to Hamlet.  More than anything, we want to be safe and cautious, for our own sake as well as for others in our community.  But if you think the vaccine works (and we do), then shouldn’t we act like we believe the vaccine works?  And based on what we know at this moment in time, that means discarding the mask.  By doing so, not only do we enhance our own lives, but we serve as encouragement for the unvaccinated to reconsider their decision.   

To those who are fully vaccinated but still wish to wear a mask for additional protection, that is your choice, and believe me when I say, we get it.  After the year we have had, who can blame anyone for wanting to be extra-cautious?  You are more than welcome to visit us at Satchel’s where you will be greeted with enthusiasm and warmth.

To those who have chosen not to get vaccinated at this time, that also is your choice, and you too are more than welcome at Satchel’.s  We simply ask that you follow state law and wear a mask while inside the restaurant.  

Thank You and Stay Safe!

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

12 thoughts on “Satchel’s BBQ provides the best statement on whether to wear a mask in a public place.

  1. Maybe I will try going to this restaurant when I get back to Ann Arbor. I was just staying & working as a vaccinator in Santa Clara County CA. No one, I mean no one, when anywhere without a mask. Not in a the hotel hallway or even as I was on my way to into the pool ( after I made a reservation to use the pool). A different experience from mine as I live in Livingston County, MI.

    We went into a restaurant in SF on Sunday as a treat after vaccinating. The restaurant near Fisherman’s Wharf was offering discounts & we sat outside. But before we were seated, we were asked for contact info. We proudly told them we were already vaccinated & in fact were vaccinators at the 49rds stadium. They still wanted all of our info. Gladly, we provided the info & sat down masked until we ate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a very good statement about their philosophy.
    Re the Hamlet analogy: What would tip the scales is for the cases to decrease even more. They had 2 cases in SF yesterday. If we can get there in Ann Arbor say by the end of June, that would make all such choices a lot easier.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Satchel: haven’t commented on any of these posts, they’ve all been appreciated. This one is perplexing. While some of us were vaccinated and believe it works, we may still have family who are immune compromised or others we may infect so now I’m in a category where I may be perceived as anti vaccine if I wear a mask? Ok I get it, we need to live our lives but with so many “big reversals” I’m going to wear a mask until more herd immunity. Still confused, please advise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree the way this was handled by the CDC was awful, and they did not prepare the population and give them an understanding for the change. Again, the burden of risk is going from the population as a whole to those who are unvaccinated, either by choice or immune problems. This may seem unfair, but is the way all other infectious diseases are handled. The best thing we can do is to have every immune competent person get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection for the immune compromised.


  4. Since Judy served on a board with Hugh Morgan, we became acquainted. He was from the South and unable to find BBQ he liked in A2 area. So did his thing by founding Satchels. We like it’s food. Sent this tidbit in case you did not know it. Keep the good blogs coming, Mike

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    1. In both your posts, you reflect the fact that the burden for risk is going from the population as a whole to those who are unvaccinated, either by choice or immune problems. This may seem unfair, but is the way all other infectious diseases are handled. The best thing we can do for your sister is to have every immune competent person get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection for her.


  5. I have faith in the studies that the vaccinated are at little risk but I feel for the immunocompromised who won’t know who is safe and all those with children too young to be vaccinated. I don’t think the Gov. had much choice however since there was going to be so much non-compliance with any continued order and maybe this will spur a few more to be vaccinated. Community spread needs to go way down before my sister (kidney transplant) will venture out.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s a bit unfair to those who had the disease and are therefore better immunized than even the vaccinated.
    That’s my case. And as a result will not take the shots (too risky). I do not wear masks since the CDC changed guidelines as I consider myself immunized.
    It’s a moot point any way because as of July first mask will no longer be required indoors in Michigan, Vaxxed, unvaxxed, immunized or not.


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