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Jacksonville's mask mandate has business owners policing themselves, customers as city urges people to 'do the right thing'

Mayor Lenny Curry issued a mandate for people to wear masks indoors where social distancing isn't possible.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Employees at all European Street Café locations have been wearing masks before Monday’s mandate. It was a precaution owner Andy Zarka made when the restaurant reopened its dining rooms.

“We are just trying to do the best we can to comply with the executive order and I honestly feel like this is the next step in trying to get back to normal,” he told First Coast News.

Following Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s order requiring masks to be worn inside when social distancing isn’t possible, that reminder is now given to customers and is posted on the restaurant’s social media pages.

Zarka says his employees will police each other and the customers.

“When you come to the door at European Street Café, if you don’t have a mask on, you are going to be asked to put one on,” Zarka said.

Credit: Courtesy: European Street Cafe

At Open Road Bicycles in San Marco, all employees are wearing a mask. Co-owner Scott Summey says the change in policy is necessary for the health of his staff and the customers.

“It’s common courtesy for us to wear a mask and we appreciate other people coming in wearing a mask,” Summey said.

The store’s been around 28 years and Summey says the wheels are in motion to try to flatten the coronavirus curve.

He’s also asking his customers to self-police themselves by reminding them of the mandate which is on the front door.

“We just want you to be respectful to us. We will be respectful to you. We want to make sure that you are safe and that we are all safe also,” he said.

We asked the city how it plans to enforce the mandate and we’re told, residents need to “take personal responsibility and do the right thing. It can be enforced, but this also gives businesses the ability to refuse service to someone who refuses to comply.”

The mandate is for everyone six and older, but there are some exclusions, including people who have medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask. In that case, you’re asked to try and always stay six feet from others.

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