Pullman businesses enforce mask mandate

Owners, employees say customers are respectful of wearing masks

Businesses+in+Pullman+must+tell+customers+to+wear+a+mask+before+entering+indoors.+Rico%27s+Public+House+owner+said+that+the+pandemic+has+negatively+impacted+their+number+of+sales.

JACQUI THOMASSON | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Businesses in Pullman must tell customers to wear a mask before entering indoors. Rico's Public House owner said that the pandemic has negatively impacted their number of sales.

JARED BRADLEY, Evergreen reporter

Following Gov. Jay Inslee’s mask mandate, local businesses in Pullman must enforce employees and customers to wear face coverings while indoors.

Jacob Barrera, head manager of Tin Tan Tacos, said he has been enforcing the mask mandate and has been giving out disposable gloves for patrons to use when signing receipts.

“We’ve been kicking people out if they don’t wear their masks,” Barrera said. “When it’s applicable, we also have extra masks to hand out at the counter.”

Barrera’s business is along Greek Row, which is a location that has been tied to several COVID-19 cases in the past weeks, according to The Daily Evergreen.  

He said his business has still been busy recently despite the pandemic. He said his sale numbers are better than they were at the start of the pandemic.

Tawny Szumlas, owner of Rico’s Public House, said her restaurant is following the mandate as well. They require customers to wear masks, as well as all employees who must wear them for the entire duration of their shifts.

“If someone comes in without a mask, we ask them to wear one. If they don’t have one, we ask them to get one,” Szumlas said. “If they say they can’t wear one, we inform them that they could do our curbside service.”

She said business is a lot slower since the recent outbreak in Pullman. Szumlas said last week was her lowest recorded week of the year for in-person sales. She said people were still ordering takeout.

Emma White, employee at Sella’s Calzone and Pizza, said the restaurant has been enforcing the mandate.

“We have a big sign on the door,” White said. “If someone comes in without a mask, we ask them to please exit the store and read the sign. That usually gets people to put a mask on.”

Pullman has become the number one place in the country for the growing number of COVID-19 infections, which began about the same time as WSU students returned, according to the New York Times.