Brunswick has joined Portland in requiring people to wear masks indoors.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of pushback yet,” Toby Tarpinian of Morning Glory Natural Foods said.
Tarpinian said most of his customers at Morning Glory Natural Foods have no problem wearing a mask.
“I think it’s a good idea, and both our customers and our staff seem to support it,” Tarpinian said.
Brunswick’s mask mandate went into effect last week, but starting Tuesday, businesses in town were required to put up signs telling people to wear a mask. Some business owners said it takes the pressure off them of having to ask people to put on a mask. Others said it will drive people away.
“I had two customers Friday almost get into a knock-down, drag out over something I find as silly as wearing a mask. But they are really offended,” Beth Soma of Mr. Bagel said. “And this is hurting our business.”
Soma said several anti-maskers told her they plan to start eating in towns with no mask mandate, including her first customer Tuesday.
“He came in and started telling us about his constitutional rights, and he took the mask, which he is supposed to do, and he put it on,” Soma said. “And as soon as we turned our back, he took the mask back off and then started again that we’re violating his constitutional rights.”
“There’s this argument for personal freedom, but there are times when you have to consider the freedom to live of the other people around you,” said Peter Simmons, who supports the mask mandate.
Other residents said face coverings should be optional for the vaccinated.
“If you’re vaccinated, you should be able to choose whether you need to wear a mask or not,” said Naomi Conant, who opposes mandates for the vaccinated.
“But people that aren’t vaccinated should wear masks,” said Herron Williams, who opposes masks for the vaccinated.
Unless a business requires proof of vaccination, employees have no way of knowing who’s vaccinated.
“It’s very annoying to see people not wearing masks, coughing, doing all the unhygienic things that you don’t really think they should in the middle of a pandemic,” Boothbay Harbor grocery clerk Victoria Coskery said.
Town leaders in Freeport and Bath are also considering mask mandates this week.