New York agency warns businesses cannot ban customers for not wearing face masks

New York agency warns businesses cannot ban customers for not wearing face masks
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The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) told businesses they couldn't turn away unmasked customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The spread of the coronavirus in the city has prompted the state government to close all nonessential businesses and issue a stay-at-home order, but stores considered essential are still allowed to operate. Some of those businesses have begun imposing their own standards, such as requiring customers to wear masks while they shop, according to Bklyner.

Fong and Zhou Supermarket is just one store in the city that is reportedly turning away customers who aren't wearing face masks.

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Gary Chui, a bookkeeper for the supermarket, said the store policy is in place for "protecting our staff and customers too," he said.

"Business owners are not permitted to turn away customers who are not wearing face masks," a spokesperson for SBS said.

SBS did not cite any specific law preventing businesses from imposing these store rules, according to the report.

The Hill reached out to SBS and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene but has not immediately heard back.

Outside of the supermarket, medical three-layer masks are sold for $40 in boxes of 50 to customers who might have forgotten their face covers at home.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams posted a tweet in February asking residents to stop buying masks, as they are more effective in preventing the spread of the virus for medical workers as opposed to preventing spread from public encounters.

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Guidelines from SBS also noted, "The NYC Health Department does not recommend the routine use of face masks if you are not sick. Face masks are not needed for general or routine tasks by staff."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise the use of regular surgical masks for already-infected patients to block coughs and sneezes, and N95 respirators to filter out the coronavirus.