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While the Coronavirus pandemic continues, The Retail Industry Leaders Association is now calling on government officials in all 50 of the U.S. states to make mask wearing a mandatory action when shopping or when being in public places. The RILA represents major retailers like Target and Home Depot.

The organization released an open letter to state governors demanding a "uniform approach" to guidelines of safety. Wearing masks and social distancing is the main concern for the retailers, and they've said that the “patchwork of local mandates” is a roadblock for many retailers when it comes to developing methods of safety for both staff and customers.

“While well-intended at the time, conflicts stemming from local law enforcement agencies applying their own interpretations of conflicting state and local mandates forced retailers to shift valuable time away from store operations,” the organization said.

The letter seen in the link is primarily addressed to New York's Governor Cuomo and Maryland's Hogan Jr.

At the moment, only roughly 50% of all jewelers are requiring masks to be worn in their places of business. These numbers are from an InStore Magazine survey.

Rex Solomon of Houston Jewelry in Houston, Texas has voiced concern among many other retailers for the safety of his staff, saying, “As we have staff in their 70s and 80s, we feel that it would be counterproductive to put them at risk just for a potential sale.”

However, on the other side of the argument, there is potential for loss of sales if a customer is given a choice rather than a mandate. According to what Loann Stokes of Stokes Jewelry told InStore, “Last week, I would have lost a $400 sale if I had mandated masks.”

Although the argument regarding sales is clear, customer aggression due to mask requirements has caused the RILA to swing further in the direction of mandatory masks in places of business, saying, “Despite compliance from the majority of Americans, retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers who are under the misguided impression that wearing a mask is a violation of their civil liberties.”

Information originally sourced from National Jeweler.