Attorneys offer advice for businesses to keep the situation from escalating
Aug 18, 2020
Supermarket News – In the era of social media and political division, mask rules can quickly spiral into a federal case — literally.
To address the challenges and how to de-escalate a mask situation, the Atlanta law firm of Fisher Phillips recently wrote a five-step action plan on how a business can handle anti-mask guests.
Chief among those steps is to “figure out what you want your front-line people to say. Literally, give them a script. And if they can’t coax the customer into compliance, find a designated manager or two to handle the cases.”
Restaurants and supermarkets are public accommodations, so they are obligated to accommodate someone with a disability.
“The managers need to know if there is a medical reason the customer can’t wear a mask, because we certainly don’t want a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Ryan said.
Among the five steps that the Fisher Phillips team recommends to minimize the chances of a mask incident occurring in the workplace:
Step One: Private business decides
Private businesses can decide whether to allow customers or visitors onto a property if they are not wearing a mask. This is similar to the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy commonly posted in businesses.
Step Two: Be proactive with your mask policy
“Providing notice to customers, visitors and guests of your mask requirement prior to their arrival at your business can help reduce confusion and prevent an uncomfortable situation,” the lawyers said.
“Posting notices on your public-facing website, apps and social media platforms to notify visitors of your policy is recommended; you can also use emails or texts as additional communication tools,” the attorneys said.
Signs should be posted in a prominent place at the establishment’s entrance and should include a statement that you have the right to refuse entry or service to anyone not complying with the requirement, particularly where required by local law. Many jurisdictions already require such signage.
“Consider having a staff member stationed at the entrance to remind guests of your requirement,” they said.
Step Three: Train your staff
“Your staff will be more likely to effectively enforce your requirement for masks if they understand why you have the requirement,” the lawyers said … Read more.
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