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Wausau small businesses ask for mask mandate

Businesses owners say ordinance would help keep customers, employees safe
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:25 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -

A group of local businesses are asking to have a mask ordinance to help keep their customers and employees safe.

”In my case I am requiring that clients not immediately in front of the camera do wear masks when in studio,” Voss Studio owner Emily Voss said.

“I think starting this coming Monday we’re going to go to mandatory masks,” Owner of Evolution in Design Randy Verhasselt added.

For the stores that have a mandatory policy, sometimes its choosing between the policy or the clients.

“Sometimes that means I give up clients that don’t want to wear a mask,” Voss stated.

Businesses believe that mandatory rules will help them retain clients.

“It would be really beneficial for the small business owners that if we had an overarching mandate coming from the public health department or the government,” Voss explained.

“I think by doing a mandate either by county or by city would certainly be helpful for all the retailers downtown,” Verhasselt agreed.

With a mandate, store owners say that they can focus on their business and not their customers.

“We wouldn’t be forced to police everyone, it would just be a rule,” Terradea owner Kelly McCarthy said. “If someone in our store gets sick, we’re shut down again,” she added.

Owners say that the masks keeps not only employees and customers healthy, but everyone they come into contact with.

“For me it’s about protecting people around me, protecting my family members, and also my family members who are in the health care field,” Voss said.

“It’s just just a matter of protecting not only our customers but everyone around us,” Verhasselt added.

The Wausau Chamber of Commerce does not have a stance on a potential mask ordinance but issued the following statement about customer and worker safety:

”We encourage our membership, businesses, and general public to take appropriate precautions including wearing masks to protect the health of our employees and customers.”

Because the city of Wausau does not have a public health department, the municipality is not able to implement any health-related restrictions like a mask requirement, Mayor Katie Rosenberg told NewsChannel 7. A draft communicable disease ordinance from the Marathon County board that would have allowed more flexibility in implementing requirements was sent back to committee last month.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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