"I don't know if it has a whole lot of teeth" - business owners weigh in on mask mandate
About halfway through the first week of the municipality of Anchorage's Emergency Order 13, many individuals have expressed criticism over the decision. However, many businesses see it as a relief that they don't have to be the ones asking folks to put on masks.
Now there's the question of how effective the order will be due to some of the wording. The order allows for residents to refuse to wear a mask if due to a medical condition, but it also says that those people are not required to show any medical proof of such.
At Classic Toys and 2 Friends Gallery in Midtown, the owners said that while they've had little to no arguments with customers refusing to wear masks, they are in favor of the emergency order.
They both had signage in their businesses asking - but not requiring - folks to wear masks before the order went into affect after reopening.
"Being able to enforce a policy like that - no way," said Ed Dodd, owner of Classic Toys, "I'm not going to ask my staff to call somebody out for not wearing a mask because it's not my job to be the Dudley Do-Right of the COVID police you know?"
Dodd said he sees the mandate as a good measure, but without a requirement to show proof of a condition, he doesn't know if it has "a whole lot of teeth." He said he's glad that most people walk into his store with a mask on these days.
The final item under the emergency order states that the municipality does reserve the right
At 2 Friends, co-owner Debra Lindsay-Hudgins said she also doesn't plan on being the "mask police," but doesn't think people would actively lie about a medical condition for the sole purpose of not wearing a mask during the pandemic.
"If someone feels strongly about not wearing a mask being some sort of infringement on their life then they're probably going to be a little more up front about that," she said, "Someone who really truly does respiratory issues and has trouble wearing a mask - for the most part, I don't think people are going to lie about that."
Despite the potential work around for people not wanting to wear a mask, they both feel it's a good thing that all businesses are operating under the same mask rules now.
For businesses running into customers that refuse to wear a mask for one reason or another, the order encourages staff to accommodate through socially distant means like curbside pickup.