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Mayor Jacob Frey's emergency order making masks mandatory takes place

Store owners like Sarah Sweet say they are excited to reopen, and willing to ask customers to wear masks.

MINNEAPOLIS — To no one's surprise, the owner of 'i like you' Minneapolis, a gift shop that features local artists, likes people.

"You know, just the standard customer, you miss them so much," Sarah Sweet said. "I don't think we knew how much we were going to miss them."

Curbside pick-up and online orders haven't been enough to fill Sweet's heart. So she said her plans to reopen both her Minneapolis and St. Paul stores to the public brings her joy.

"The plan is to be as clean and as refreshed as possible," Sweet said. "We'll have hand sanitizer available, we prefer that everybody wear a mask inside as well as our employees."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed an emergency order making wearing a mask or a face covering mandatory inside indoor public spaces. That order began Tuesday at 5 p.m. Sweet said with this order in place, she's okay with having to tell her customers to mask up.

RELATED: #MaskUpMPLS begins Tuesday, requiring face coverings in public buildings

Frey's order explained that owners and managers of businesses do have the right to refuse entry to anyone who doesn't comply.

"Mask please," Sweet said. "Otherwise you can't come in. And I'm standing right by the door to tell you not to."

M Health Fairview Chief Quality Officer Dr. Abe Jacob said mask compliance is one of three key pieces to 'reopening' life.

"The combination of wearing a mask, doing lots of hand hygiene and isolating people we know are sick-- those three things by themselves will significantly reduce risk of transmission and allow us to get back to more normal functions of how we live," Jacob said.

He also called the act of wearing a mask, an act of selflessness.

"If I walked into a store and saw you wearing a mask, I'd think, 'that's so kind, she is trying to protect me and everyone else she's shopping with,'" Jacob said.

RELATED: Poll: Nearly three-quarters of Minnesotans wear a mask when leaving home

Jacob added he believes the Minneapolis order is proactive because a mask at the end of the day provides another barrier against the virus.

"It's really an apolitical issue about people's safety and people's health," Jacob said. "I wish we would take it out of the political arena and talk about it as a public health measure intervention."

As for Sweet, when she opens her store with limited hours next Tuesday, she said she's ready to have conversations with those who refuse to wear masks.

"Does it make me uncomfortable..." she said, referring to the possible confrontation. "I guess no. It doesn't. It's for the betterment of everybody and if you don't want to wear a mask, I think you just need to find someplace else to shop."

With that in mind, she said it's been a hard few months, waiting for this incremental step in seeing people again.

"I just miss them so much, I can't wait to see faces again, even if they are covered by a mask," Sweet said.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.  

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