Local 'essential business' employees begin wearing face coverings and masks

Posted at 3:48 PM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 16:11:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Starting Saturday, masks are a must for "essential employees" across San Diego County. Many local businesses are now complying with the new rule amid the uptick in coronavirus cases.

It's a new day—a new rule.

"They're tough to wear, but you have to wear it," La Jolla Gourmet Meats owner Jeff Lefstein said.

Starting April 4, 2020, face coverings are required for all San Diego County employees at grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, convenience stores, and gas stations. But the problem is, masks are hard to find. The short notice had some larger businesses scrambling. Lucky for Lefstein, he says he got his from a neighbor.

He says the coronavirus surge has had an unexpected effect on business. Shoppers are now re-discovering his small, organic meat shop.

"I'm not that busy, so people like to come here because the grocery stores have too many people in them," said Lefstein.

Meanwhile, at Eldahmy Wellness Pharmacy in Barrio Logan, employees have been donning masks, gloves, and protective gowns well before the County mandate. Now that the public is catching on, their masks are running low.

"We have a supply. Yet the supply is super short," said Ahmed Eldahmy, owner of Eldahmy Wellness Pharmacy. "There is always a high demand and limited supply."

Customer Cindy Enderle has two immune-compromised family members at home. While it is only recommended for the public, she says she does not leave her home without her mask.

"It's the way of the times right now, unfortunately," said Enderle. "We have to do it. It's serious business."

When customers call in, the staff at Eldahmy Wellness Pharmacy encourages patients to come in with a mask. If they cannot find one, to make one, not just to protect themselves, but everyone.

"Hopefully, we'll have a vaccine by next week, or it might take longer," Eldahmy said. "We don't know. With that being said, we need to make sure that our employees, our health care providers, our team are kept safe while we're taking care of our patients and all of those that we can help."