Tensions change to encouragement for Ceruti’s Catering as restrictions lift on April 6

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – This week, Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced that there would not be a “broad mandate” for face coverings or capacity limits after Governor Eric Holcomb leaves both to the local government on April 6.

In the wake of the news conference, the owner of Ceruti’s Catering, Joe Ceruti, said he was very encouraged by the announcement.

“We are hopeful that next week Dr. Sutter will not change any of the rules, he suggested in his press conference that he may, but we have to move forward with what the rules are today,” Ceruti said. “I think the numbers are improving throughout the state and the county, more people are getting vaccinated and more people have herd immunity, that’s going to help the safety of our guest,”

WANE 15 has been in talks with Ceruti for the past few months. Tensions were brewing back in February when WANE 15 first reported on the frustrations and struggles from banquet hall and catering company owners. A month later the tension come to a boil, when Ceruti filed a lawsuit against the Allen County Health Department, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state of Indiana.

“It’s been a long 14 months, that’s for sure,” Ceruti said. “It’s been very challenging, out of my 34 years in business I’ll say this has been the most challenging time, as for my employees and customers as well.”

He told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that he recently received a noticed that the government will file for an extension to extend the lawsuit for their response. Ceruti doesn’t feel that is unusual but he wants to get the ball rolling.

“We asked for discovery, we asked the government to provide the data, any science or any experts that have weighted for them to determined how they made their decision,” Ceruti said.

Certui said he has not been in direct communication with Dr. Sutter, but he has been speaking with David Fiess, from the board of health.

“Right now, just like the governor’s orders there is not a capacity restriction,” Ceruti said. “We still highly encourage the use of masks. It’s not mandated, but we’re going to make sure our employees are wearing masks and we are following all of the safety protocols and procedures we put in place last March.”

His employees will be required to wear masks at least until April 30. As for non-employees, Ceruti said he will leave the decision to the hosts and guests if they want to wear masks.

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