MARION, Iowa (KCRG) – Jason “Doc” Rogers has been running his shoe repair business for nearly two years.
Being a small business owner, he wants to make sure his shop doesn’t have to close because he or anyone else gets sick from COVID-19.
“If I get sick, if my family gets sick, this business is gone, and we’re not coming back. We’re closed.”
The Marion small business owner has required face coverings in his store the entire pandemic, but said it’s a battle every day to enforce.
He showed us surveillance video of a recent incident got his business a one-star Google review.
“We have a mask policy. Do you have a mask with ya? I’m not gonna discuss it. In the lobby and everywhere else you have to wear a mask, or we have to go outside,” said Doc as he reminded a customer to wear a mask in the surveillance video.
Doc does give customers who don’t wear a mask the option to do business outside.
Recently, he asked another customer to leave his store for refusing to put a mask on after multiple requests.
“Hey I’m requiring masks for everybody in here please. Customer says, ‘I’ve got one.’ Well you better put it on before you come in,” Doc said.
After the man argued he didn’t have to leave, Doc threatened to call Marion police.
Officer Tom Daubs with Marion Police said their officers have dealt with several business owners struggling to enforce mask mandates during the pandemic.
“When you are in a business, a store, or restaurant, technically you are the guest. And as the guest you need to follow the rules set forth by the house, entity, property owner or whatever the case may be. And if there’s a sign posted that you have to wear a mask, technically you have to wear a mask if you want to do business in there,” Officer Daubs said.
Daubs said business owners can call police and an officer will decide whether to warn or charge a customer with trespassing.
Doc said his shop is his entire life, but if people don’t care about his or other customers’ safety, then the job isn’t worth it.
“We’re not just here for the money. This is our life,” said the small business owner.
Doc said he’s been focused on making his shop safer for everyone the entire pandemic, even installing new medical-grade air filtration systems.
He also sealed off the store lobby from his workshop and pay counter to make all interactions contactless.
“To all the customers out there, please wear a mask. Other people are wearing them for you, the least you can do is wear it for them – just for a moment. And to business owners and employees speak up. You don’t have to get into a fight, but just tell people we require a mask. Make a stand,” Doc said.
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