Utica, N.Y. - We here at News Channel 2 have had a number of people call our newsroom as well as email us, stating they are sick and tired of people not wearing masks in stores, or having their masks on, but pulled down to their chin.
Sunday, we got some feedback from a variety of sources on the issue.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says it is annoying to see that sight in stores these days, and says he often does say things to people, "I've stopped a couple of people and said put it up, I have. I don't know if they thought I was doing enforcement, but whatever. And I think it's important not to be afraid to say that."
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri echoed that statement, and said it's up to each and every one of us to do the right thing to keep our state from becoming like Florida and Texas, where a second spike is causing major problems, "You don't have to listen to elected officials or a politician, listen to the doctors and the scientists that tell you this is a way to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The last thing we want to do is shut down our economy again, so please wear the mask, social distancing and wash your hands."
Gerald Squillini of Utica was shopping at Hannaford's on Mohawk Street on Sunday and says it really gets under his skin when someone is walking down an aisle in a store, basically bumping up against you and they don't have a mask on, or it's on but it's down around their chin, "I wear my mask for their benefit, and mine."
Squallini says he doesn't know why stores can't enforce the mask policy that they clearly have posted in their stores when you enter, and remove customers that may wear a mask into the store and then take it off once they're inside, or pull it down to their chin.
We contacted Hannaford's media relations department on Sunday, but did not receive a call back.
We did however, get replies from both Price Chopper and Walmart, neither saying they would remove customers for mask non-compliance.
Price Chopper spokesperson Jonathan Price said, "Ultimately we have to rely on our customers to be courteous to their fellow customers and our teammates."
Walmart spokesperson Phil Keene said, "We strongly encourage all customers to adhere to the decisions made by local officials regarding the use of protective facial coverings because we all need to do our part in the interest of public health."
We strongly encourage all customers to adhere to the decisions made by local officials regarding the use of protective facial coverings because we all need to do our part in the interest of public health. Store management is working with local law enforcement to understand how to best partner with them on any concerns that arise as a result of the local/state face covering mandate."