With the removal of mandatory mask-wearing in most settings on July 17, shopping centers and retail outlets have relaxed the requirement in line with the change announced by the government.
It’s only been a few days since the mandate was lifted, but business owners say many of their customers have continued to wear their masks. Customers are still encouraged to continue to wash their hands regularly and practice physical distancing, where possible.
At Pennywise, while employees will continue to wear masks, mask-wearing is optional for shoppers.
Manager Satyam Paladee said: “Although we encourage customers to use a face mask when visiting stores, this is optional.
Employees will continue to wear masks so customers will feel safer when approaching/being approached.
First Retail Incorporated has taken a similar approach, with staff to continue wearing their masks and customers to use them at their own discretion. The company is the franchise holder for Aeropostale, Aldo, Skechers, Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and more.
Gervais Dattoo, group marketing director, said: “Staff have chosen to keep it (wearing the mask) a little longer in our stores. What we have noticed is that many people are entering malls and still wearing masks. So it’s not mandatory so customers can choose to continue wearing it if they wish.
Payless ShoeSource has made wearing a mask a personal decision for customers and staff.
Jerus Mohammed, Country Manager – T&T, Barbados & Eastern Caribbean, said: “We no longer have a mask requirement to enter stores – for our associates the use of masks is optional as per updated regulations. day”.
At Gulf City Mall, customers are free to make their own choice to continue wearing their masks.
For the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA), the position is that wearing a mask is an individual choice.
DOMA President Gregory Aboud said Loop News that only a few businesses maintained mask-wearing and sanitizing protocols for customers.
However, he said the majority took the position that it was a voluntary action for staff and customers.
Despite the lifting of the mask mandate, Aboud noted that many have chosen to continue wearing their masks.
He said: ‘What I can add is that since the mandate was removed we have noticed that around 70-80% of people walking around the city and entering stores continue to wear masks .
The removal of the mandate saw no majority decision by the public to stop wearing their masks.
The DOMA president said it was “rather significant” that people are still choosing to protect themselves by continuing to wear masks.
“We didn’t expect that to be the case, I think that’s a positive sign,” he added.
Wearing a mask is still mandatory in public and private medical establishments, and its use is still encouraged in situations where people will be in close contact with others.
The prime minister has already said the government would not hesitate to reinstate the mandate if the COVID-19 situation changes and warrants the measure.