PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is now mandatory for employees and customers to wear a mask or face covering while inside essential businesses in Pennsylvania. If businesses do not comply, they may see a warning on the first offense, but repeated offenses can lead to a citation or suspension of their license.
For those who don’t have access to a mask, a bandanna will do. But if you don’t have anything covering your mouth and nose, a business could deny your entry into the establishment.
At the ACME grocery store in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood, an employee stood by the door and made sure customers were wearing a mask or face covering as they entered the store Sunday night.
Pennsylvania’s new order makes it a requirement to do so when entering essential businesses like grocery stores and home improvement shops.
At the Home Depot in South Philadelphia customers were met with a sign that read:
“Due to local ordinance, all individuals are required to wear face masks for laced coverings while in public. Thank you for your cooperation.”
Customers heading to Home Depot in South Philadelphia will be greeted with this signage. All customers and employees must wear masks or cloth face coverings. #COVIDー19 @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/VRf6whw2km
— Crystal Cranmore (@CrystalCranmore) April 20, 2020
The mandate went into effect on Sunday night at 8 p.m.
“Having to police that, to get in the middle of a customer and entering the store, that’s a concern,” said Alex Baloga, President of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.
Baloga says he is also worried about the state now mandating businesses to supply their employees with masks.
“A lot of the PPE equipment is in very short of supply. Our members are working around the clock to try to follow the directive as best as they can,” Baloga said.
Under the order, employees must wear the face coverings at all times except to eat or drink.
President of South 9th Street Business Association Danielle Renzulli says most of the businesses she’s seen are already requiring face masks.
The association says its members are prepared to continue fighting the spread of the virus.
“The more we can do for everyone’s safety the better,” Renzulli said.
If the business supplies food, medicine or medical supplies — it must find another means to deliver those items to you, like a curbside service.
The order does not apply to health care providers or those medically unable to wear a mask.
It’s important to point out, the new order does not apply to public transportation in Pennsylvania but SEPTA is urging riders to wear face coverings and are providing employees masks.