Face Coverings: It’s The Law


by Don Shor

We had a guy come in yesterday, walk right past the signs that say face covering required, walk up to the window and start asking questions.

My staff person politely asked him if he had a mask. He replied that he wouldn’t wear one.

She politely told him that we have to require a mask because of the county law.

He began to rant that it was “fascist” and “unconstitutional” and he wouldn’t wear one.

That’s when I got up and walked over and told him, politely but firmly, that it is by order of the County Health Officer and that we can’t serve him if he isn’t wearing a face covering.

He started yelling that he would leave and never shop here again.

I just replied that we didn’t write the law but we have to enforce it, so he would have to leave.

And out he went.

It’s not fun, but the only people who can be cited for this in our area are the businesses. We are expected to uphold this ordinance, and can be fined or even shut down if we aren’t doing so.

So apparently this needs to be said.

The requirement to wear face coverings in public is the law. It is an order by the Yolo County Health Officer. It is not a suggestion or a guideline. It is an order.

It is not being enforced in public by the police or any specific law enforcement agency. But there is one place where it is enforced: that is at any business that is open to the public. The grocery stores and any other retailers who are currently allowed to be open MUST require that you wear a face covering.

We are not allowed to serve anyone who is not wearing a face mask. That is the law.

So if you walk into my business without a face covering, I can’t serve you. My staff can’t serve you. It’s the law.

You may have libertarian or conservative views or personal preferences in this regard. We don’t really need to hear them. You may think (I’m quoting here) that it is ‘fascist’ or ‘unconstitutional’ to have this requirement. You are welcome to your opinions. My staff does not need to hear them. I don’t need to hear them.

It’s the law.

You don’t need to tell me (I’m quoting here) that you’ll “never shop here again” as you storm out. I’m not sure where you will shop right now, if that’s your deciding factor. But there is no need to be abusive to me or especially to my staff because of your disgruntlement. I guarantee that will effect an immediate request that you leave, which will escalate in direct proportion to your attitude. And on that note, don’t give the staff at the grocery store your opinions or attitude, either. We are working in full sun with these things on. Grocery store workers are exposed to hundreds of customers a day. By comparison, I’m pretty sure you can handle a face covering for a few minutes when you’re entering retail premises.

We didn’t write the law. But we do have to enforce it. We can be fined or even closed down if we don’t. So I suggest you send your opinions to the County Health Officer, or to your county supervisor, if you feel strongly about this. Spew them on social media for all I care. But if you aren’t wearing a face covering, we can’t serve you.

It’s the law.

End rant.

“***Businesses must:***

Require their employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering at the workplace and when performing work off-site;

Inform customers about the need to wear a face covering, including posting signs and advising those in line or in the store;

Take reasonable steps to keep people who are not wearing a face covering from entering their business, and

Refuse service to anyone not wearing a face covering.”


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6 thoughts on “Face Coverings: It’s The Law”

  1. Sharla Cheney

    I’m assuming he doesn’t protest the requirement that he wear a shirt and shoes when he goes to a restaurant.  There is a lot of fake social media activity Going on to promote this – trolls and bots using fake identities- so expect some pretty confused people.

  2. John Hobbs

    Good job, Don. I have been impressed by how well most folks have behaved during this crisis but did see one guy at a grocery store who decided he was going to educate the cashier on his constitutional right to buy as many hand sanitizers as he could pay for. She was too nice to tell the guy to shut up and move along, but fortunately a security guard stepped in.

  3. Tia Will

    Good for you Don. Not for enforcing the law in your shop, which I realize that you have to do, but for speaking out publicly about it.

    I am going to add my voice to yours. This is not about the rights of the individual. This is about everyone’s right to live out their natural life without someone else sabotaging that right whether their weapon is a gun, a bomb, a knife or a virus. This virus is easily spread, is spread before you have any symptoms at all, and can be deadly. Since each person who has it, without distancing measures can be spread to three others, not taking precautions is endangering everyone else in the community. It is not your right to threaten others whether it is with a gun, as some of the protesters are doing, or whether it is with a biologic weapon known as the coronavirus.

    We all have choices. We can stay at home. Or we can go out to the shops which are open with appropriate distancing and masks. Take your choice, but do not take that choice out on others in our community. It is not their fault you are angry. Be an adult and follow the law.

  4. Alan Miller

    Thanks for writing this, Don.  That guy was an a**.

    But then some thought I was a um . . . “jerk” . . . for harassing the City Council, Grocery Stores and County Supervisors to make mask wearing mandatory.

    I just about went apopletic when I visited a local grocery a couple of days after the CDC “recommendation” and 60% of the customers were not wearing masks.  I was fuming, and had to leave because I wanted to yell, “You selfish f*cks!  What is wrong with you?!!!”.  I haven’t been to a grocery store since, partly because if I see someone such as your ‘never-shop-here-again’ guy at a grocery, I am very likely to get into a shouting match with them (after ascertaining that they don’t have a legitimate medical reason, such as being under age 2).

    Masks protect everyone else from your potential as a carrier, as does everyone else.  That’s why it only works if everyone does it.   The one jerk *ss out there without a mask is the same guy who went all over town today without a mask and was at the state capitol on Friday rubbing up against other morons without masks.  Good to send him on his way!

  5. Todd Edelman

    The low-level but continuous problem I see is wearing of masks with valves. These are not compliant as they don’t stop transmission from the wearer. The amendment to the order is absolutely clear about this, BUT there’s no graphics or supplemental communication to support it. County is distributing the materials sent them (electronically, etc.) by the CDC. They need to go further — my sense is that wildfire fallout regions like ours tend to have a lot of citizens who’ve kept N95 masks on hand, and many with valves. The communication has thus not been optimally-localized.

    After seeing a bunch of this last weekend at the Farmers’ Market I wrote to Ron Chapman and the Supes about it. The valve’d mask wearers included sellers at the ‘Market. I rarely go to stores, but every one has a few of these Valveniks around. This included – just yesterday – the staffer cleaning shopping carts at a popular grocery store.

    I’ve been rattling on about this for awhile. I have a few of these masks and a face covering. I’d asked County if the masks with valves could be made compliant MacGyver-style, or if they were actually needed as back-up by front-line medical workers, i.e. to be worn with a surgical mask as an EMT-friend in NYC does. Answers have not been forthcoming.

  6. Alan Miller

    After seeing a bunch of this last weekend at the Farmers’ Market I wrote to Ron Chapman and the Supes about it.

    TE, thank you for keeping this point in the forefront.  You are right about this technical detail.  But when death in a possible outcome, the devil is in the details, with the grim reaper not fare behind.  The unfortunate thing about everyone being the individual savior of everyone else is that everyone needs to become an expert on cotton-weave virus transmission, face-mask washing protocols and practices, and mask design and purposes.  And we’re all amateurs.

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