Springfield businesses and attractions preparing for upcoming mask ordinance

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 7:30 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - People living within Springfield city limits may be busy stocking up on masks, meanwhile area businesses are also prepping their stores so that they are ready for the ordinance to take effect on Thursday.

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium has been welcoming back visitors for nearly 7 weeks, and since that time several new policies have been at play.

The aquarium has signs posted advising people to social distance. Guests must make a reservation in advance, and when they come to visit they have to get their temperature checked.

Prior to the mandate, employees were also required to wear masks at Wonders of Wildlife.

A spokesperson for the aquarium said abiding by the mandate will help them continue welcoming guests as safely as possible.

“Our primary goal is always the health and safety of our guests, our team members and the 35,000 live animals that call Wonders of Wildlife home,” spokesperson Shelby Stephenson said.

She said the aquarium has plans to make sure that all customers know to have a mask, including visitors from outside of the area.

“Every single person who books a reservation online is going to get an email in advance reminding them to bring that mask with them,” Stephenson said.

She also said the aquarium has a solution for visitors who may not have a mask, or forget to bring one.

“We do have a limited number of disposable masks on hand that we can pass out.”

Other businesses like grocery stores are getting ready for the ordinance as well. Over at Harter House, employees say many of their customers and employees have been wearing masks for quite some time.

“We have a lot of elderly customers that come into Harter House,” employee Derek Maus said. “So they are obviously a high risk category for the coronavirus if they were to get it. So most people that come to the store do wear masks.”

Employees hope people abide by the rules when they enter Harter House.

“We like to avoid confrontation as much as possible so we hope that people just follow the ordinance to keep people safe by just wearing their masks,” Maus said.

Maus said the store has had a few confrontations in the past, but nothing too serious.

“It is always important to be as polite as possible,” he said. “So we just try to inform them.”

Springfield Police Cheif Paul Williams also said Tuesday at a press conference that the city will be their to support all businesses if they have any issues with customers.

“That is what we’re here for. I don’t expect any individual store employees or business owners to deal with that,” he said. “That is when you step back call 911 and have an officer come out and deal with the situation however it is going to be best to resolve it. I hope we don’t see like that, but if we do we’ll certainly take care of it when it occurs.”

The requirement goes into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. It lasts for 90 days.

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