Some retailers call for statewide mask mandates

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — Some retailers nationwide are calling on governors to implement statewide mask mandates. They said it will stop confusion and frustration with customers.

“We’ve all seen on social media the unfortunate instances of retail employees being verbally abused, spit at, there have been instances of violence,” said Jason Brewer, the Executive Vice President of Communication for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

The group wrote a letter to all governors to explain.

“What we found is that in states where this has been mandated is there’s a lot less confusion and there’s less confrontation, less anger,” said Brewer.

But the Indiana Chamber of Commerce said these kinds of conflicts are not really a problem here.

“I think Hoosiers are pretty respectful and thoughtful people,” explained Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

The chamber supports the governor’s efforts to encourage people to volunteer wearing a mask by announcing who they wear a mask for.

“Do you think that is enough for retailers?” asked reporter Kayla Sullivan.

“I think that’s to be determined,” said Brinegar. “I think it’s prudent to allow local communities at this point in time to make their own decisions and we have some counties where there has been a spike.”

Brinegar said he might reconsider this stance if the state sees a rise in cases to the level of states like Florida and Texas.

But at this point, Brinegar wants businesses to know requiring masks is like saying no shoes, no shirt, no service.

“The businesses that are imposing mask mandates in no way are they making or trying to make a political statement or take sides as this issue has been depicted,” said Brinegar. “But instead, they are imposing the mask mandates because they care about their employees and their customers and they are doing what they can do to keep them safe.”

However, the RILA doesn’t think that’s the job of retailers and say these incidents of violence over masks in stores prove that.

“Retailers have been asking customers for some time to wear masks when entering stores, but it really is the role of government to enforce these kinds of things,” said Brewer.

We reached out to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s office for a response to the RILA’s request.

His office told us the governor has no new comment on the matter.

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