Business Owners Struggle With Customers Ignoring Mask Mandate

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Face masks are a part of our daily reality now. But some business owners say some customers are refusing to abide by the requirement to wear them.

One business owner said she just wants people to follow the rules as she tries to get her small business back to normal.

"We’ve had a few customers who just won't shop in here because we really want them to wear a mask," Barbara Capenera, who owns the chain Uptown Consignment, explained.

With all of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Capenera never thought getting her customers to wear masks in her store would be yet another problem to deal with. But she said the mask issue has become a challenge at her four shops, with some people saying they don't think they need to abide by the rules.

"We put out there, listen, this is the rule so don’t be upset because we’re requiring you to wear a mask to come in our store," she said. "They almost take it out on us. And as a small business we’re really just trying to get back up and running again."

Gov. Ned Lamont's executive order 7BB went into effect on April 10. It reads:
“any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering.”

The order does include a provision that allows those with a medical condition to go without a mask, as well as children under 2.

And while most people across the state appear to be cooperating with the guidelines, opinions about them were mixed.

"Yeah, I think it helps a lot, actually," Hartford resident Warren Byrd said of the mask mandate.

"I feel like we’re passed the point of it being safe for us to be around others without the mask…It has declined, you know, the infections," Tricia Colpitts of Winstead said. "I would walk in without a mask yes. I would."

It's opinions like that that prompted Copenera to post the full text of the governor's executive order outside her doors, hoping people will cooperate. She said as she battles to keep the business she's had for three decades afloat, she just wants everyone to do their part.

"I just think we all have to work together. We’re in this together. And just help us all build back up our state. That’s all we really want," she said.

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