MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This is the second day the city of Memphis’ mask ordinance has been in place. Businesses are trying to make sure people know but the word has not yet gotten out to everyone.
We ran into a Home Depot shopper Friday and asked if he knew he was supposed to wear a mask per the city ordinance. His reply -- “No I did not.” Lendon Askew went shopping without a mask because, he says, he was unaware of the ordinance. Employees were able to provide him one.
One man, who did not want to be identified, just got in from Boston and didn’t know about the mask requirement either.
”You have to wear it pretty much everywhere,” he said. “It’s [Boston] not as lenient as it is here but I guess it is not. It’s the same now.”
Most of the people we saw going in and out of Home Depot and Kroger off Truse Parkway were wearing masks.
”I think that it’s important from where we were a few months ago,” said shopper Ryan Lacroix. “I wish everybody wore it.”
We did see a few people not wearing masks and they didn’t want to talk about it.
Violators of the mask ordinance will get a warning at this point. But the city says those warnings will likely go to businesses after the city gets complaints and turns them over to code enforcement.
Some businesses like Huey’s are prepared for non-mask-wearing customers.
”If they come in without a mask, we’ll say ‘Hey welcome to Huey’s we apologize but we have masks available for you,‘” said Hollis Ranson, the general manager for the Huey’s Midtown location.
The ordinance says you have to wear a mask when you walk into a restaurant but you don’t have to wear it after you are seated.
There are exemptions to the Memphis ordinance. You don’t have to wear a mask if a medical professional has advised a face mask poses a health risk, as in someone who already has trouble breathing.
Don’t be fooled by cards circulating on Facebook that appear to exempt people.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the cards are from a group called Freedom to Breathe. It is a Facebook group that is trying to stop face mask requirements.
Kesha Frierson and her children believe it is very important to wear face coverings.
”You don’t know who got it, like somebody could totally look fine and you contract it oppress you could have it and not know it or you could pass it on to someone else.”
If you see a business with people not wearing masks, you can file a complaint and call 311 or download the app and file a complaint that way.