Business owners enforce mask mandate to avoid risk of closure

Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 9:56 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Some business owners say they would rather work with mask requirements than risk another round of mandatory shutdowns that could strain the state’s economy.

At Sharkheads in Biloxi, the signs are up and the message is clear: no mask means no entry.

“I don’t like wearing it. It’s hard to breathe but I understand also,” said Sondra Hadding, who is visiting from Oklahoma.

Shoppers browsed the store while following the statewide rule for businesses, which were put in place by Governor Tate Reeves to tighten restrictions for safety against the coronavirus.

“Most of the families are real good with it. The families will stay together and they’ll stay away from the other families, most of the time,” said Sharkheads owner J.J. Pierotich.

Reeves stated Monday that a mask mandate is better than widespread economic shutdown. Pierotich shared his experience with spring closures.

“April, we were down like 98 percent; March we were down about half,” he said.

Pierotich said business has boomed in the summer, with an influx of tourists from neighboring states.

“They’re tired of being cooped up, they want to get out and travel, he said. “You’re not going to take the small vacation away from the American family with children.”

He hopes the new mask mandate can keep coronavirus cases under control as businesses are on the road to recovery.

“We’re not nearly as bad as a lot of the bigger suburban areas like Atlanta and stuff like that,” Pierotich said. “We’re not even seeing the problems that they’re seeing, and I hope it continues to be that way.”

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