We checked: Are people wearing face masks at businesses in Gainesville?

The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, is pushing retailers across the U.S. to adopt face mask requirements. 
That push started on July 2nd with a letter to government leaders asking them to “develop model mandatory mask policies that are simple and do not impose the enforcement burden on organizations.
 
This week is the start date for many retailers who recently announced that wearing a face mask would be a requirement to enter.
On July 15th, the NRF issued a statement about businesses adopting the mandate stating that the organization “applauds the leadership of companies like Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others that have implemented nationwide mask mandates.
“We hope today’s announcement by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – that it will be enforcing a policy requiring customers to wear a mask to shop in their stores is a tipping point in this public health debate.”
In the July 2nd letter addressed to President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Governors Larry Hogan of Maryland and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, the NFR stated, “The medical evidence is clear: the wearing of masks or face coverings in public settings, especially when it is not possible to consistently maintain social distancing, is a critical element to preventing the spread of COVID-19. 
Current local and state mandatory mask requirements vary widely in scope, application, and enforcement. For example, there is variation on whether the mandate applies to all businesses, to just employees or also customers, and exemptions for age or other health conditions (e.g. asthma). In addition, in some locations the mandate is imposed on businesses for them to enforce. Not only has this led to public confusion and lower levels of consumer confidence, but it has also contributed to confrontations between customers and employees and litigation from both directions — enforcing mask requirements and failing to enforce mask requirements.

Face Mask Gainesville 2

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to stand firm on not mandating face masks be worn statewide and has turned that responsibility over to county and city officials to adopt.
Alachua County was one of the first smaller municipalities in Florida to release an Emergency Order mandating masks and in the past few weeks has started to clamp down on offenders by stationing code enforcement officers at locations throughout Gainesville.
As the University of Florida staff and student population continue to return to Gainesville, enforcing the mandate has become all the more important to the Alachua County Commission, who developed the order based on advice from the Alachua County Department of Health and UF Health experts in order to mitigate the spread of the virus that has infected at least 2,683 people in Alachua County, hospitalized 113 and killed 14.
Mainstreet Daily News visited several businesses in Gainesville that have adopted the face mask requirement nationwide at all locations on July 20th. We observed how customers and retailers were responding to the face mask mandates.
We counted 178 people in a discount superstore wearing masks and only three people not wearing masks correctly, including two employees and a child who had the mask under their chins.
The employee at the door who was counting customers as they entered said that the customers from Gainesville were the most compliant to the rule and out-of-town visitors had to be reminded.
One clothing and home department store had about 48 people shopping when we stopped by plus employees. All members of the staff were wearing masks, and greeted shoppers at the door. Only two people in the store were wearing masks incorrectly or in a modified way to accommodate a personal reason. 
And at a major hardware retail store, we counted about 85 shoppers with three not complying with the order. 

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