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Encinitas business owner says some customers still refuse masks

Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 01:16:57-04

ENCINITAS, Calif (KGTV) -- An Encinitas business owner is trying to spread awareness about the challenges her employees face when customers refuse to follow the public health orders issued during the pandemic.

Kris Buchanan owns GOODONYA Organic on the 101 in Encinitas. She posted a video discussing what she calls "The great mask debate" with one of her employees.

Alex, the employee, talks about how it's exhausting constantly reminding customers to wear a face covering, but Buchanan said her employees deal with much more than that.

"I think people should realize the issue is not the business and I'm not trying to skirt the issue. I'm just trying to be real, we can't enforce, we don't have the skills, we don't have the training, we don't have the money to go through the training, and I don't want to put my people in that situation," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said her employees are dealing with customers who refuse to wear masks, but also customers who are upset that other people aren't wearing masks.

"I think every business has a responsibility to do the right thing, to follow the guidelines and so it's not like we're just, we don't want to talk about it, I think the point to know is we do try and, they don't listen to us," said Buchanan.

She has spent thousands of dollars on PPE, moving the restaurant outdoors and increasing sanitation protocols, but she says there's not much she can do when crowds of people and tourists walk right past her outdoor tables without masks. She also paid for her employees to be tested after one of them caught COVID-19 in June.

"It's like, do you know how much money we're spending and what we are doing to even try to stay alive? And you're in for a snapshot in time, and you see something, and you threaten to turn us into the local authorities, I'm like I don't even know who that would be, but go ahead," said Buchanan.

She points to a religious rally held recently at Cardiff State Beach. Thousands of people attended with few face coverings and little social distancing.

A spokesman with California State Parks said a permit was not issued for the event and that the gathering was not allowed.

"When you saw the 1,000 people at Cardiff gathering, it was disheartening, that's right down the street from our business. So, we definitely got customers after that ceremony, and here they walk past the sheriff, they walk past the lifeguard and they walk past the state beach guys, who work for the state, didn't get a ticket, and now they come into some random cafe," said Buchanan.

Instead of expecting employees to police guidelines, she encourages customers to contact their local elected leaders.

"Asking the cashiers, and the waitresses and the servers to kind of implement an escalated situation is not fair and not right, and it won't work anyway," said Buchanan.

She hopes people will do the right thing.

"Do you want cops issuing tickets? Or maybe we could all just take personal responsibility when we're out and about whether you believe in it or not," said Buchanan.