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Enforcing Statewide Mask Order Can Be Awkward For Small Businesses

Taco shop owner David Fuertes gives a bag to a customer including her purchase of masks, gloves and sanitizer on April 9, 2020 in Whittier, California. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images) FREDERIC J. BROWN/
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For residents of San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties, there’s been a bit of mask whiplash.

First, masks were required countywide. Then, they weren’t. Now, they’re mandatory statewide.

But enforcement often falls to small business owners and their workers.

At the Farmer's Market in Upland on Saturday, many vendors said they were uncomfortable asking people to wear masks.

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"They’re probably going to be upset," said Venus Sánchez, who sells Doterra essential oils and has a compromised immune system. "It’s your choice. Do you want to be healthy or sell something?"

Another vendor, Sandy Solis, makes bags, blankets and now, masks. She was shocked by how many people were walking around the farmer's market without them, but she kept quiet.

"I don’t want to not have people come in just because they’re not wearing [a] mask," she said. "Hopefully they’re coming in without a mask to purchase a mask!"

But sometimes, it’s the business owners who don’t want to wear masks. Like Christian Batriz, who makes and sells scented candles.

He doesn't think masks should be required in public, but said: "if I have a customer that comes up to me with a mask, I’ll wear a mask out of respect for them."

"We’re all here trying to make money. Don’t wanna scare our customers away."