‘Doing the best we can’ Local businesses talk state mask mandate

Coronavirus

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — With COVID cases on the rise, New York State and Monroe County are telling businesses to enforce a mask-or-vaccine mandate.

Officials have said the measures are there to slow the spread of Covid as hospital systems are pushed to their limits.

With the mandate in place, businesses say they are doing what they can with the hand they’re dealt.

“A lot of customers have come in with it and they’re following the policy,” Scott Thyroff, owner of the Pittsford Pub.”Others, just like throughout this whole pandemic, don’t want to wear the mask, they’re not gonna wear the masks.”

Thyroff told News 8 all staff is masked, and for customers who do not wear a mask, staff give a ‘friendly reminder’ to wear the mask.

In a press conference Monday, Wegmans CEO Colleen Wegman encouraged customers to wear masks on their own, but discouraged employees confronting people over masking.

“Unfortunately in today’s world if we were to ask our people to approach an unmasked person, that could be unsafe for them,” said Wegman Monday. “So that’s not something I could ask for people to do, but that’s why we’re here today to ask customers to do it on their own.”

News 8 asked Wegmans Tuesday to further clarify their masking stance, and received this statement:

Where mandated at the state or local level, customers are required to wear a face mask, regardless of vaccination status, while shopping in our stores. We are focused on complying with these mandates, while keeping the health and safety of our employees and customers a top priority.  In today’s world, asking our people to approach an unmasked person could be unsafe for them, and we’re not going to put them in that position. Our service desks will continue offering free masks to customers who need one.

All employees are required to wear a face mask in our stores, even if not mandated at the state or local level.

Laura Camera, Wegmans spokesperson

This week, New York state is earmarking 65 million dollars to help enforce the mask mandate. At this point, it is unclear how Monroe County will use the dollars it gets, and how other counties will use them. Governor Hochul suggested Monday the money could be used for “creative ways, either for enforcement, or masks, or signs. We want to make sure that we pick up the costs for this.”

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