Masks are mandatory in California, but whose job is it to enforce wearing them?

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Masks are mandatory in California, but whose job is it to enforce wearing them?
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As California continues to tighten its health guidelines amid COVID-19, business owners say enforcing that customers wear a mask can be "awkward," and have mixed ideas about if they should have to be the ones doing it.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- It's the new modern look of compliance.

A flipped universe where masked men are good and the rest, suspect.

"It fogs my glasses but I put up with it," said Trip Allen through his mask in Marin County.

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Wearing masks is mandatory, now. That leads to a new quandary for anyone who owns a business.

Should it be their job to enforce this?

"It is awkward. Upsetting. We should not be police," said Kelly Smith.

She owns two United Market stores in San Rafael and San Anselmo.

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The company has been progressive in dealing with the coronavirus. Like a lot of stores, they already had signs outside, and rules about masks. United Markets will not allow customers allowed inside without one. Employees have taken on the role of enforcing it that policy, nicely.

"We do provide masks to the public," said Andrew Bobroth, who produced three boxes of masks to prove the point. "We deliver them with gloves on."

Not that masking has been much of an issue in Marin County. At San Anselmo Phone and Tablet Repair, Blake Buzzard told us, "Usually it is pretty innocent. A quick remark is enough for most people," if someone comes in unmasked.

Many people with whom we spoke to sounded like Jeannine Fradelizio of Fairfax, who said, "I'm doing it out of respect for my neighbors and community."

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So, what began as social distancing has evolved into social enforcement.

Lorraine Reuther and her son Richard sell Buddha statues, mostly outside.

Just window shopping, there can be a relaxing experience, but they never sold Buddha while wearing a mask, until now. They never had to remind customers to wear one, either.

"Buddha would say do what you have to do. Do what you have to do," advised Lorraine.

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In this world, that would mean masking up, and putting up.