BRADFORD, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf reminded state residents on Thursday that wearing masks while inside stores is still required even in the green phase, but local businesses report mixed results on that front.
“In yellow and green counties, it is required that masks are worn when visiting businesses to protect employees, employees’ families, and communities as a whole,” Wolf said. “Mask-wearing has proven to be an important deterrent to the spread of the virus, and as more counties move to green and more things reopen, we need to be vigilant in our efforts to continue our mitigation efforts.”
In the guidelines for businesses reopening in the Green, businesses must “require all customers to wear masks while on the premises.” There are exceptions for those who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition or children under two years of age.
Counties here in the north central region have been in the green phase of Wolf’s plan to reopen the state since May 29. Since then, results have varied as to whether customers wear masks or if businesses require them.
Ben Gunter, co-owner of the Grocery Stretcher, said the Main Street grocery store is still asking customers to wear masks, but is not in a position to turn away business if customers aren’t wearing one.
Still, he was happy to report that most people are still wearing them upon entering the store. His employees are also still wearing them. The store also still has its plexiglass screens up between employees and customers and is taking other safety precautions.
“I’d say probably 90% of people that come in have a mask on. We have a good amount still wearing them, and our employees are, as well. For the most part, people have been respectful and worn masks,” he said.
The story changes just a few blocks away at Bradford’s Save-A-Lot, where owner Nancy Larson said the store is still asking customers to wear masks, but is getting a lot of pushback.
“We have been trying to enforce the mask wearing. (Wolf) never really lifted that order,” she said. “But the people are terrible about it. They throw things at you and swear at you.”
Larson noted that the store still has signage up that asks customers to wear masks, but customers are resistant, largely due to confusion regarding the green phase orders.
“We’ve called the police a couple times,” she said. “It’s an order from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and DOH (Department of Health), but nobody is out there to try and enforce it. As soon as we went to green, people said they don’t have to wear (masks).”
To combat this, Larson would like to see state and local agencies enforcing the guidelines more strictly.
“How do you enforce it when there aren’t any agencies following up on it?” she rhetorically concluded.