We should all be proud when we followed protocol so as to defeat the deadly pandemic, known as COVID-19. At the beginning of this disease, New York state experienced the worst of this calamity. At present our state has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. This was accomplished by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, staying home and washing your hands frequently.
One of the dire consequences of this tragedy is that, in New York state alone over 24,000 lives were lost. Worldwide, this number exceeds 450,000. Further, public health experts warn that this disease could rebound in a flash.
Stewart's Shops is a renowned retailer in our area. Over the past two weeks I have shopped at various Stewart's Shops from Dutchess County to Washington County. At every shop, posted on the entrance door, is a sign which mandates that all customers cover their face before entering the store.
From what I have witnessed, unfortunately, Stewart's employees are allowing unmasked customers into their stores. I witnessed this on June 18 at the Argyle Stewart's. Four customers were brazenly walking about with their face uncovered. When I politely asked the Stewart's employee why she was allowing this to happen, she replied that Stewart's employees are not required to enforce their own directive.
I have witnessed this in the Stewart's New Lebanon, Berlin, Greenwich, Hartford and Fort Edward shops. With this virus still lurking, Stewart's must take into account the safety of their customers. I have elderly relatives and four grandchildren, with the fifth on the way.
Stewart's must amend its lackadaisical policy and enforce its own rules. If they do not, this clearly subjects their customers to risk, and it indicates a decision to flagrantly disregard the recommendations of public health officials.
Joseph H. Oswald, Salem
Editor’s note: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on May 28 giving businesses the authority to deny entrance to anyone not wearing a mask. However, the order does not require businesses to enforce mask-wearing.
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