Acceptance met frustration as Philadelphians reacted to health officials’ urging that residents resume wearing masks indoors in public places even if they are fully vaccinated.

The recommendation came after health officials counted more COVID-19 cases among children too young to be vaccinated.

Overall, COVID-19 case rates are rising again in Philadelphia and the region but are still well below peak levels. By Thursday, the two-week average had risen to 64 cases per day, up from 24 in late June and early July.

Some business owners are fast complying with the suggestion. Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, who owns the South Philadelphia Thai restaurant Kalaya, said she would require her workers to don masks again, effective Friday.

It’s a minor annoyance that benefits the vulnerable, said Susan Jacobson, the communications consultant who heads the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, which says it represents area businesses with a total of 600,000 employees.

The group is urging members to accept the mask cost-and-benefit calculus. “Wearing a mask temporarily is just not a heavy lift,” she said. “We can still go back to work, and enjoy the benefits of Center City. If we need to take extra precautions that could end up saving lives or preventing a backslide, I’m all in.”

Jabari K. Jones, president of the West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative, worried that the new recommendation would delay the economic recovery. “Consumers feel that it is safe to go out and shop because the vaccines they’ve taken are enough to protect them against COVID. This new [recommendation] ... for the vaccinated makes people start to doubt that,” Jones said. “Ultimately that could lead to a slowdown in sales when businesses need the revenue the most.”

Jones says he’s not recommending businesses reimpose masks on staff, but “to do whatever they think will make their employees and customers feel safe and comfortable.”

The return of mask guidelines took some by surprise. Many restaurants had relaxed policies for their staffs shortly after the city lifted mask requirements several weeks ago; now they are preparing to mask up workers once again.

Riccardo Longo, who owns the Center City Italian restaurant Gran Caffe L’Aquila, said he was “strongly considering” reinstituting employee masking after suspending the practice last week.

Following 16 months of new laws and shifting guidelines, “I don’t know what to think anymore,” Longo added.

William Mignucci, president of Di Bruno Bros. grocers, said early Friday that he was not mandating masks, “yet encouraging employees to do so if they choose to.” He said he would give further consideration as more information is available.

In doctors’ offices, masks look like “the new standard, at least for the foreseeable future,” said Andrew Murphy, a physician and allergist with three offices in the city’s western suburbs.

The “pandemic played its role in dividing us,” and Northeast business owners and residents see the return of large public gatherings as overdue, said Roman Zhukov and Roman Krylov, founders of the NE Phila. Connected citizens’ watch group, in an open letter promoting the International Cultural Exchange Festival, on the American Federal Credit Union grounds on Saturday.

Last year’s “overregulated lockdown” drove some small businesses to less-regulated suburban counties or down South, and eroded general confidence “in the competence of City Hall and Harrisburg,” Zhukov added in an email.

Now “mom and pop” operators worry a new mask push means the government “is going to punish them” again, maybe worse this time. “We all know that COVID-19 is real, we all do as much as we can to be safe, and keep others in the same state of mind,” he added. But last year’s mandates, stricter than neighboring counties, left business owners “frightened, and questioning if they should leave Philly, as far as they can afford to.”

The new policy was immediate fuel for talk radio and social-media debate, with some citizens bemoaning the uneven cycle of loosening and tightening on mask policy and virus dangers.

“This morning on Big Talker 1210 there was a lot of complaining about conflicting information” from city officials recently, said David Evanson, a Mount Airy business consultant. “I think it comes with the territory. A pandemic is a complicated event, and it’s moving rapidly and changing rapidly and there’s no playbook.”

Evanson said he ranks masks with seatbelts, stop signs, and wearing shoes and shirts in restaurants, all minor inconveniences to prevent worse ones. “So yes, expect some confusion, but let’s try and be in this together, and do the best we can.”