According to local businesses, their customers have been “masking up” in increased numbers since the July 11 executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“Lately I would say 95 percent come in wearing a mask,” said Sears Hometown Store owner Jeff Stone. This is an increase from his estimate of 60 percent prior to the order.
Stone, along with other business owners such as Marvin Yono of Alpine Marketplace and Mark Hamel of The Laundry, report an increase to near full compliance since the executive order.
Some still come in without masks, though many businesses now provide them for free. “It’s usually men,” Hamel said. “They usually leave versus wearing the mask to their table. The rest of their party (all with masks on) are usually very upset with them.”
These are guests with no medical reason not to wear one.
Stone said most who enter without wearing a mask end up wearing one while offering a bit of criticism for Gov. Whitmer. “I think anything this simple that may saves lives is a good idea,” Stone said. “People need to do it for others even if they are not happy with it. Such a simple request.”
According to Alpine Marketplace co-owner Marvin Yono, they’ve had no issues with non-compliant customers. He appreciates that most wear the mask as directed. He said 1,000 customers visit the store every day. “We understand that it’s an inconvenience for our staff and our customers, but we appreciate everyone’s cooperation,” Yono said.
Hamel said, “Us folks working in the public everyday think masks are very important.”
Joe Gilbert, owner of The FirePlace restaurant, reports a much lower mask compliance rate initially than these other businesses. He estimated 30 to 35 percent wore masks before the executive order. Now approximately 95 percent wear masks.
Masks are required because of the growing consensus that as “layered protection,” they can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 carrying droplets expelled by someone’s mouth or nose, according to Bridge Magazine. A cloth mask can catch droplets from breathing, coughing or sneezing.
People also expel smaller droplets than these, which can pass through masks, but they are likely not a leading cause for transmission in normal life activities.
Part of the confusion over masks could be because of the conflicting information over masks and COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially discouraged the use of masks, but as the situation evolved, changed the advice they offered.
Now the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) both encourage the use of face coverings.