The mask debate: Some businesses have different takes on mask requirements

An Albertson woman says some customers refuse to wear masks at the laundromat. In Old Bethpage, a pharmacy posted a sign that said, “masks are not required.”

News 12 Staff

May 27, 2020, 3:47 PM

Updated 1,424 days ago

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An Albertson woman says some customers refuse to wear masks at the laundromat. In Old Bethpage, a pharmacy posted a sign that said, “masks are not required.”
These are just two examples of how state law and public practice have not always matched up during this pandemic.
The Albertson woman, identified only as Sara, says she was at Willis Laundromat earlier this month when she says a fellow customer refused to wear a mask even though she was less than six feet away.
Sara says she reached out to the owner for help, but she never heard back. Willis Laundromat owner Elliot Gordon told News 12 enforcement isn't as easy as it sounds.
“I would not ask the employees to put themselves at any risk or danger in trying to enforce the law. It’s not their job. I want to keep it a safe environment,” he told News 12.
Gordon says most of the time, people do wear masks inside. When News 12 was there, someone came and went without one.
Sara suggested Gordon post a sign informing customers that they must wear a mask. He plans to do that soon.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says business owners who sees customers enter their shops without a mask should call police.
To date, Ryder says his department has received 2,756 complaints about alleged social distancing infractions. Just 28 violations were issued.
“We'll either go ourselves or the fire marshal, who does a lot of the indoor inspections, and then we'll speak to that owner, we'll advise them, ‘Look, follow the rules or we're going to issue a summons.’”
While Gordon says he wears a mask and supports people wearing masks, not every business owner feels the same way.
Margaret Kuzma works at Diamond Drugs II in Old Bethpage. The owner recently hung a sign on his front door. It says, "Masks are not required." A photo of the sign made the rounds on the "Plainview Moms" Facebook page.
“We had to take it down. They called the fire marshal on us. They had them come and tell us, ‘If you don't take the sign down, you could be fined up to $10,000.’"
Even though Long Island is beginning of Phase 1 of reopening today, Ryder says he's hopeful most people will continue to be safe.
“I'm not concerned, and I'll tell you why. I think we're a smarter, more educated than we were before the virus,” he says.
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