DALLAS - Starting Saturday, all Dallas County businesses will require employees and customers to wear face masks.
Retail businesses and restaurants must put up signs about the mask order or face a $500 fine.
“If we can get this under control, we can go back to normal,” Terri Williams said.
Damond Fields owns Sankofa Kitchen in South Oak Cliff. He said it’s awkward not interacting with customers the way he’s used to.
“So people come in, like, you know when I saw you,” he said. “I’m sitting up here like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ You know?”
He works to bring healthy options to his urban community, a community he loves.
“Our whole slogan is fresh food, not fast food,” he added.
He said he cannot have a healthy-first approach to food without a healthy-first approach to COVID-19.
They’re still only doing to-go orders, and even for that, it’s one-in and one-out.
“If I’m worried about just making money just for me and my family and my staff, then I’m not caring about you,” he said.
A manager at Ann’s Health Food Center and Market in Oak Cliff said the new policy only emphasizes what they’ve already been requiring and, for the most part, customers are okay with it.
“A little bit of pushback here and there. There are some people that feel like it’s infringing upon their rights, but we’ve covered it very clearly with them that it’s for the well-being and peace of mind of everyone,” Daniel Rushing said.
“It’s really strange to walk in the grocery store and all of these places and see everybody with a mask, but this is the new normal so we just have to deal with it,” Williams said.
“But we got everything set up, so every station here is six-feet apart from each other,” said Irasema Pamampo, who owns Bishop Arts Athletics.
The mask order provides some wiggle room for gyms. People do not have to wear them while working out, only while walking around.
“Once they find their station and get all of their equipment there, then they’ll just stay there and they can remove their mask for the duration of the workout,” Pamampo explained.
Still, Bishop Arts Athletics said it’s taking extra measures to keep people safe.
“Every member, no matter what time of day, has to take their temperature,” Alex Saenz added. “We make sure that every single person puts away their equipment clean, right? If they do not, we call you back, clean your equipment, we give them a little lecture and they’re like, ‘I’m sorry.’”
The order gives businesses five days, starting Saturday, to implement a policy. And it’s the business, not the customer, that can be fined up to $500, a reason why businesses are quick to post mask reminders.
Some are blunt, while others are a bit friendlier.
“Yeah, they love it, it’s more just like thank you for putting a smile on my face today,” said Kristen Miller, who owns All Good Things.
Businesses are grateful to be open, and many feel a mask is a simple way to protect their ability to stay open.
“You lock the doors, you’ve never been robbed, no one broke into your house most of the time, but you still lock your home every night. It’s the same thing with your health,” Fields added.
People do not need to wear a mask in those moments while eating or drinking, pumping gas, or at a bank.
To clarify some grey areas in the order regarding gyms, the county is working to put together a frequently asked questions response list.