Some Tampa shops requiring customers to wear a mask amid pandemic

Posted at 11:04 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 23:10:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- As health experts urge people to wear face masks in public, a Tampa boutique is requiring the facial protection when inside their shop.

It's a debate now at the center of life outside of isolation; to wear a mask or not.

In Hyde Park Village Tuesday afternoon, a few shoppers could be seen wearing face coverings but the majority of people were not.

"So much is unknown about who has the virus and who doesn’t," said Linda Crawford, owner of Scout & Molly's Boutique.

The Hyde Park boutique requires customers to wear a mask while shopping. Staff offer masks to those who do not have their own.

"To just be a partner in keeping our customers safe, our employees safe, and our community safe, we decided that we would require the mask," said Crawford.

Employee Jan Lowry is a former nurse who says requiring a mask inside is the best way to protect both customers and staff.

"We’re really not sure with this coronavirus as far as if like there’s going to be a second wave and when it’s going to hit so we all really just need to use some caution" said Lowry.

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City of Tampa and Hillsborough County leaders have not made mandated wearing masks in public but strongly encourage people to do so anyway.

The health trend helped turn around business at Ella Bing Haberdashery in Hyde Park Village.

Owner Brent Kraus ditched producing suit and ties for this season's must-have accessory.

"We were actually able to hire 12 people to sew for us and we did about 2,500 masks in the month of April," said Krause.