Small businesses grapple with governor’s mandatory mask public health order | KOB 4
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Small businesses grapple with governor’s mandatory mask public health order

Ryan Laughlin
Created: May 17, 2020 10:20 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico is now one weekend down with the new public health order that requires people to wear face masks out in public.

Gov. Lujan Grisham said the new order carries the weight of law. It has been the job of State Police officers to enforce the public health order, but KOB 4 wanted to know if any of that responsibility falls on business owners.

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Humble Coffee, which reopened this weekend, is one of those businesses trying to make sense of the new public health order. Owner Mark Baker opened his business back in 2014 and said trying to do the right thing is part of his business model.

"That's our brand is, Humble is very responsible. And so, you know, we've had to learn how to navigate through this Coronavirus situation,” he said.

Humble Coffee is serving customers through a walk-up window only. They’re requiring their employees to wear masks and asking customers to wear one too.

 "Luckily we have not had to act as sheriff and tell our customers what to do too much. Our customers are naturally responsible,” Baker said.

The governor is still encouraging people to wear masks. In a tweet, Gov. Lujan Grisham pointed to medical experts who said if 80% of people adopted a simple homemade face masks, COVID-19 deaths could be reduced by 17% to 45%.

But enforcement is nowhere to be seen.

“There's some that don't agree with her order, but that's not the point. The point is that's what's required and that's what we will do,” said Steve White, owner of Warpath Traders in Old Town.

"Being closed for close to 60 days is not fun,” he added.

White is requiring mask wearing inside his business, but several people walking around Old Town Plaza were seen without masks.

State Police said they’re only responding to complaints they receive and will not be actively searching for rule breakers.

"Nobody wants to act like the sheriff in this case and it's certainly not our place, but we do want to serve coffee and we do we want to engage our customers in the best way that we can responsibly,” Baker said.

Small businesses starving for customers are also trying to follow the new rules.


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