Encouraging mask use at your business

Help people understand and follow your mask requirement at your business.

Masks are good to wear as protection against getting or spreading Covid.  Know when masks are needed. And keep a supply of masks handy if patrons don’t have one.

Let people know

Set an example by having all personnel wear a mask.

Post signs about your mask rules. You can download and print posters from the outreach toolkit.

Put your mask requirements on your website, and tell your patrons about your mask guidelines in any communications, including emails and telephone calls.

Have extra masks handy for those who don’t have one.


Have alternatives for customers that cannot wear masks

Some people cannot wear masks because of disabilities or other health reasons. You need to weigh the health and safety risks serving them may cause.

Consider delivery, curbside pickup, or outside services as alternatives.


Have your staff be ready to talk about it

Have staff who normally interact with patrons explain your mask policies. All managers should be able to back up their staff if needed.

In general, do not command anyone to wear a mask. This can cause defensiveness and defiance. Remain flexible and meet every situation calmly.

Always check in with your co-workers. Compare what has and has not worked.

If something seems to work well, turn it into a script to try again.


Be understanding

When people resist wearing masks, be understanding of what their reasons might be.

They may have political beliefs. They may feel their rights are being threatened. They may think their risk of getting COVID or of getting very sick are very low. There are many different reasons they may have.

Many people have felt more stressed during the pandemic.  This may cause people to overreact.


Ways of talking about masks

Talk as one person speaking to another.

Treat each person as someone who can accept a reasonable request. Do not disagree with people. Let them know their beliefs are not being questioned.

Use “I” or “we” statements, as in “I would appreciate it if you helped me out.”

Talking about the science may work, such as:

  • Young, healthy people have died
  • Long Covid is real
  • They may have the virus but not have any symptoms
  • They could be contagious and bring harm others

Try to appeal to each person’s sense of cooperation. We’re all working together as a community to fight the virus and keep each other safe.


Be prepared to deal with someone who is angry

If someone gets angry, be as calm and kind as you can.

Acknowledge their anger and explain that you want to help them. Try to de-escalate the situation.

Consider your own safety. Give yourself space. Be aware of your surroundings if the situation gets worse.

Always call for back-up and support if you think you will need it.

Deny service as a last resort

People come to your business for a reason, and it’s likely you want them to get what they came in for.

But if someone can't follow your rules, as a last resort you may have to deny them services or ask them to leave.

Denying services is a powerful tool. If your business has security, call them for help.

If needed, you can also call the police for a non-emergency at 415- 553-0123.


Last updated June 14, 2022