NYC grocery store customers without face covering can be denied entry, de Blasio says

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A pedestrian wears a face mask as he walks past a mural of a fish while strolling on the boardwalk at Coney Island, Thursday, April 2, 2020.

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NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio issued new guidance Wednesday allowing grocery store owners to deny entry to customers who do not wear a face covering, providing an extra layer of protection for essential workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Grocery store employees are “among the group of unsung heroes in the fight,” de Blasio said.

Later Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New Yorkers will be required to wear face coverings when they are out in public and social distancing is not possible.

The new mandate will require a mask or face covering on busy streets, public transit or any situation where people cannot maintain six feet of social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

That mandate takes effect Friday.

A face covering can be as simple as a bandanna or any other fabric that covers the nose and mouth. The new guidance does not stipulate customers wear N95 or surgical masks, which de Blasio said should be reserved for health care workers and first responders to use.

The mayor suggested store owners post signs similar to ones that read “no shoes, no shirt, no service,” and said the NYPD would support enforcement if needed.

“Any customer who says ‘no, I refuse’ should not be allowed in,” he said. “The city will back you up.”

If a store owner encounters a compliance issue, they can call 311 or reach out directly to their NYPD neighborhood coordination officer (NCO).

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