Tallahassee businesses weigh in on mask debate

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 8:02 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Business owners and shoppers in Tallahassee have mixed feelings about requiring face masks.

On Tuesday, the Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida Chapter asked Governor Ron DeSantis to issue an Executive Order requiring face masks to be worn in public spaces.

The Florida Health Department reported a record 2,776 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, marking the 14th day in a row of more than 1,000 new cases across the state.

This is why, Dr. Saff says, requiring masks is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading further.

"I think there's a lot of coronavirus fatigue, so people are just saying the heck with it, I don't want to wear a mask. I'm tired of it," said Dr. Ronald Saff, member of the PSR. "Wearing a mask saves lives."

But requiring masks is not a one size fits all for the Tallahassee community. Some business owners say the policy is too tough on their business because customers don't want to wear them.

The Fresh Market has made it mandatory for all employees at each of its 159 locations. The grocer says it is also "strongly requested" that guests wear a mask or face covering.

One customer, who did not want to go on camera, said Tuesday they think the proposal for an executive order would be a "terrible idea."

"I do think they're more hurtful, and not allowing us to have exposure to anything to where we're going to wipe out our immune systems that we've been developing," she said.

The Other Side Vintage is another local business that continues to ask customers wear masks.

"We want to try to take care of our community, take care of our customers and take care of ourselves, by kind of trying to keep ourselves responsible for other people," said employee Lyndsey Woods.

Woods says they continue to wipe down and sanitize surfaces after each use.

But for The Other Side employee, wearing a mask isn't an option, it's a necessity. Her son was born four months early, and struggles with upper respiratory infections.

"We take, of course, extreme precautions with him at home, and I realized that when I was going to come back to work that if I don't take the same precautions here that I do at home, that there's no point in any of it," Woods said. "So to me, I get upset when I see people not wearing masks."

The vintage store says they have no plans to discontinue asking for masks to be worn.