Jefferson Co. business owners weigh in on implementing new mask ordinance

Enforcing mask order at JeffCo businesses

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Now that face masks are required in public indoor spaces in Jefferson County, a big part of the responsibility in enforcement falls on businesses owners.

Some say they shift has been easy, but some business owners say they’ve gotten push back.

Customers at Manhattan South have two options: Bring your own mask to shop or buy and comply. Owner Lesley Decastro-Vedel spent part of Thursday unboxing a new shipment of brightly colored masks.

“We just got all these new styles today. That way if someone comes in and they don’t have a mask, we have different options for them,” said Decastro-Vedel.

She says the new ordinance was an extension of what she already had in place.

“We’ve been requiring people to wear masks when they tried on clothes, so I don’t think it was a really hard transition.”

With a reminder sign on the door about face masks, she says they’ve had few problems with implementation. The same has happened for Laura Newman, owner of Queens Park Bar.

“I think it’s a question of enforcement rather than implantation. When the county does these mandates, unfortunately there’s not like a mask police division that can come around and make sure people are wearing masks. It’s actually up to employees in the business which does put them in a precarious position,” she said.

The owner of Queen’s Park Bar in downtown Birmingham says she was happy to see the measure because of safety but has faced push back from some customers.

“We’ve already seen customers write a big tip on tickets, cross it off and, ‘Say thanks for making me wear a mask,‘” Newman.

Customers have to wear masks when moving around the bar unless they’re eating and drinking. Newman says they’re making sure to adhere to the ordinance because ultimately they want to stay open.

“Us enforcing this rule is not to be rude or inhospitable but it’s because I can’t afford to close my bar down because people didn’t feel like wearing masks and the health department found out,” Newman.

We reached out to the Jefferson County Department of Health to get information on what happens if businesses don’t follow the ordinance guidelines and were given this statement from Dr. Mark Wilson, JCDH:

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