By Jeff Todd

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The first city in the Denver metro area to require face masks is now helping out businesses that have to mandate the practice. On Friday, the City of Wheat Ridge started distributing masks to businesses so they can be handed out to customers who don’t meet the city requirement.

(credit: CBS)

“There were some challenges ordering these and while their employees were required to wear them, customers might be coming in without them or having left them at home or in the car. This way we can help businesses support their own employees, keep them safe, as well as keep our residents, visitors, shoppers safe in the businesses,” said Sara Spaulding, the communications manager for Wheat Ridge.

Businesses say most people are abiding by the city ordinance and showing up with masks, but this allows them to have all customers covered and isn’t forcing businesses to turn away customers.

“They are very hard to come by,” said Heinz Silz who runs Heinie’s Market. “This will save us. This will get all the customers in here that come.”

The city has a website where businesses can request a few masks from the city’s limited supply. On Friday they were distributed to restaurants, a liquor store, dentist office, and about two dozen other businesses.

“It’s up to all of us to keep each other safe as we continue to try to control the spread of this pandemic. So Wheat Ridge is trying to do what we can do to support our businesses in that effort,” Spaulding said.

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The line outside Edward’s market was lengthy as people lined up for meat. The smoker was pumping out an intoxicating scent while about a dozen people lined up, spaced apart, and almost all wearing masks. Still, the owners were grateful for the help from the city.

“Customers don’t have masks, not a lot, but it will be nice to just hand one to them now,” said Alysa Edwards, who is now the fourth generation in her family to operate the market. “We’ve been wearing the masks since the beginning as employees as a business, and then customers too, they’re pretty aware about it. Like I said, there’s a few that haven’t.”

“We’re doing what we can to help them get through this as we all continue to stay at home and stay safe,” Spaulding said.

(credit: CBS)

Jeff Todd

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