The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Local businesses comment on the public’s response to the mask mandate

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Beginning Monday, June 29 at 6 a.m. face masks will be required in all College Station businesses. Bryan and Brazos County face mask orders will be in effect on June 30.

Texas has implemented a mask mandate requiring individuals to wear a mask in public in most counties unless driving or eating. The mask mandate looks slightly different in every business environment, and each establishment is responsible for its enforcement. In a town dominated by college students, some businesses in College Station said they are not facing resistance or difficulty with customers over this rule.
Griffen Foley, the co-founder of a local coffee shop called Carport, said they haven’t encountered much opposition to requiring masks on the premises. Foley said he attributes the smooth transition to social media for spreading awareness of the need for masks.
“Our customer base is that of many college students and a lot of people who understand the serious nature of this, so we have really not had anyone who’s given us any difficulty as far as being forced to wear a mask,” Foley said.
Even for the individuals who don’t have a mask, Foley said they are able to avoid asking them to leave the establishment. Instead, he asks them to wait outside to have their order taken by a “remote point of sale.”
“We have a remote point of sale, something that looks like a phone in addition to our standard screen system. We have on a few occasions had to ask people to go sit underneath the carport and we will come out to them and take their order,” Foley said. “So leave? No. But wait outside under the carport? Yes.”
Uptown Cheapskate employee Sarita Ojeda said the mask mandate looks a little different inside the resale store because masks are required inside the main shopping area but not in the fitting rooms.
“We do disinfect fitting rooms after every use as well as the whole store outwardly to help ensure the safety and health of not only our employees, but shoppers as well,” Ojeda said.
Ojeda said enforcing face coverings in the store has not been difficult as all shoppers have followed the mask mandate and no one has been asked to leave the store. Uptown Cheapskate has made an effort to make shoppers aware of the mask mandate and requirements to shop in their store on their social media. Additionally, the store is using the resources provided to them from the city to help inform the public.
“Everyone’s been great,” Ojeda said. “We haven’t had any issues with anyone, we’ve been really grateful for that…We do put it on social media, but we have the city signage that they provided for all the business up on our front doors as well as throughout the store.”
Brian Piscacek, College Station Assistant to the City Manager, told KBTX News he emphasizes education in an effort to uphold the health and safety of those in College Station.
”Our primary goal is all about education all right? So if somebody has a concern or a question and they’re contacting our code enforcement office, we can follow up on that either through phone or in person,” Piscacek told KBTX. “The first step is always education hopefully to achieve that voluntary compliance.”
An essential business that has remained open since the beginning of the pandemic, H-E-B, has followed the mask mandate and began requiring masks inside their stores on July 1. Lisa Helfman, director of Public Affairs H-E-B Houston which oversees the business in College Station, spoke about the necessity of masks.
“H-E-B is focused on the health and safety of our partners, customers and continuous service to our communities. Masks are a proven way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow businesses to operate safely during the pandemic,” Helfman said. “We are following guidance and advice from medical professionals and the CDC to make the best decisions regarding the health and safety of our Partners, customers and the communities we serve.”
In an interview with KBTX News, A&M’s Provost and Executive Vice President Carol Fierke said that this coming fall semester, “If you are not wearing a face covering [in a classroom] and you don’t have an exemption, the faculty member will ask you to put one on or ask you to leave the class. If the student refuses, we are not going to have faculty throwing students out. They will just take the student’s name, and they will give that name to student affairs. Then there will be a student conduct.”

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