Tensions rise at Silverthorne Target over masks | VailDaily.com

Tensions rise at Silverthorne Target over masks

Libby Stanford
Summit Daily News
Shoppers wear masks and gloves as they enter the Frisco Walmart on Thursday, April 30. Many stores are requiring patrons to wear masks to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the face of restrictions being eased.
Liz Copan | ecopan@summitdaily.com

Summit County officials have received complaints from Target that customers have been confronting employees and others about masks used to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, County Manager Scott Vargo said at Thursday’s Board of Health meeting.

The county’s safer-at-home public health order states that everyone must wear masks or facial coverings when in buildings open to the public as well as outside if a 6-foot distance cannot be achieved. To comply with this order, Target officials have an employee at the front of the store checking to ensure that every customer is wearing a mask.

However, the issue has caused tension on all sides, Vargo said. 

“Their employees are getting confronted by a number of folks that are refusing to comply with that part of the order,” he said. “Then, they are getting other people who are wearing masks, confronting people who are not wearing masks and confronting the employees who are not, in some way, putting a mask on them.”

At the meeting, the board agreed that it would be counter-productive to remove the mask rule and that the transition into the new normal will involve some growing pains. 

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On April 17, Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order requiring essential workers to wear masks. Summit County’s requirement takes that one step further.

“My biggest concern is we’re not protecting the workforce when we’re not having customers wear a mask,” Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. 

On Wednesday, eight City Market Breckenridge employees tested positive for the virus. 

Vargo said the county doesn’t intend to reprimand people for not wearing masks. However, if abusive or threatening behavior occurs, he urged Target to call the police.

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