In an effort to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Los Angeles County supervisors have mandated that all persons working in an essential retail establishment and all members of the public entering such establishments wear protective masks covering the nose and mouth. Three days ago I was at my local pharmacy to pick up a needed prescription. I noticed an employee behind the pharmacy counter had a mask on his face, pulled down below the nose, covering only his mouth and chin. I asked him why he was not covering his nose with the mask as I and all other customers and employees in the store were doing. His reply was that it was hard to breathe with the mask over his nose. I told him he should go home as the proper wearing of the mask is for the protection of others and his failure to do so put me and others in the store at risk.
Reluctantly, he pulled the mask up over his nose. I felt that as soon as I left the store the mask would again be pulled down below the nose. On my way out I asked to speak to the store manage to report the incident and was told there was no manager on duty. Frustrated, I just left the store and tried to forget the incident.
Today, I went to a local restaurant to pick up (food) to go. I entered wearing my mask and was the only customer in the establishment. All employees, with the exception of one, were wearing masks covering both nose and mouth. I was astounded to see one employee who was wearing a mask covering only his mouth and chin.
In this instance the store manager was readily available at the pickup counter and I pointed out the situation and the manager took immediate steps to talk to the offending employee.
My hope in writing this letter is that supervisory personnel in all open retail establishments will take note and do their jobs in ensuring their subordinate employees are following the rules and wearing their masks properly until this pandemic ends or it is decided that wearing of masks is no longer necessary. Additionally, my hope is that readers of this letter become more aware of similar situations and speak up to cause corrective action to be taken.
Lastly, my hope is the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health takes a more proactive approach in monitoring open retail establishments and conduct ongoing, random audits and taking appropriate action when violations are observed.
Gary E. Rogness