Sioux Falls businesses & customers prepare for mask mandate

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Businesses in Sioux Falls are preparing for the citywide mask mandate taking effect at midnight.

Beginning Saturday, people will be required to wear a face covering inside of businesses and public buildings when social distancing isn’t possible. But some customers who prefer going mask-less, will grudgingly go along with the ordinance.

We found most of the customers inside Taylor’s Pantry wearing masks on the day before the citywide mandate takes effect. But Garrett Conn wasn’t one of them.

“It’s just the way I feel about having to wear something or not wear something, so since it’s my opinion,” Conn said.

Conn, who’s from Viborg, says he’ll comply with the mask mandate when it officially begins on Saturday. But he says he may do less shopping in Sioux Falls because of it.

“I might not drive into town as much to buy stuff. So, shop more local and stay in town,” Conn said.

Taylor’s Pantry owner expects some pushback from customers who oppose the mandate. So she’s trained her employees to try to diffuse any tense confrontations.

“What we do is basically be as polite as possible. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in the situation, grab myself or grab one of our other managers and we’ll certainly take care of it. I’ve been in the business long enough to kind of know how to put out some of those fires,” Taylor’s Pantry owner Heather Taylor said.

Store clerks may sometimes have to provide their own civics lessons for out-of-town customers who may be unfamiliar with the city’s mask mandate.

“We have home-brewing and wine-making supplies here so we get a lot of people from outlying areas coming in to get those supplies. Maybe if you’re not from Sioux Falls and you’re not a big news-watcher, you don’t know about the mandate and that’s one of the reasons we’re going to have masks available for when they come in the door without one,” Taylor said.

Store employees have posted signs alerting customers of the mandate. And they’ll know starting this weekend, whether or not they’re getting the message.

“We’re not here for a political agenda, we’re just here to keep everyone and my staff safe,” Taylor said.

Taylor estimates roughly 90-percent of her customers already wear masks. She thinks the mandate will be good for her business since more customers might be willing to shop at the store knowing everyone inside will be wearing masks.

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