Rachel Askey does not dispute the need to cover mouths and noses during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s impossible to be in any store or shopping situation and not be within six feet of people, especially for cashiers,” the owner of Askey’s General Supply Company in Olean said. “So it is really important for both customers and employees to be wearing masks.”

Askey is among several owners or employees of local essential businesses interviewed by phone by TAPinto Greater Olean about whether customers are complying with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s April 15 executive order requiring New York residents to wear face masks when they are unable to social distance. For the most part, those interviewed report having seen a positive response to the executive order.

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“I can say most customers have some sort of face-covering, if not a mask then a bandana,” Ben England, manager of Staples in Olean, said. “I’ve only seen maybe half a dozen all week that haven’t.”

Allen’s Liquor Store reported that approximately 90% of their customers were wearing masks by the end of this week. And a manager at Portville Liquor Store said store employees wear masks and switch to new gloves between transactions.

Two restaurant owners also have seen most customers covered when coming to pick up orders.

“I would say 75 percent of our customers have been wearing masks. I think it is very important because it is just personal safety,” PJ McAfee, owner of Beef 'N' Barrel in Olean, said.

Aaron Hess, owner of Fusion on Main in Allegany, said that in the last week almost every one of his customers was wearing a mask.

Hess said curbside pickup differs. Customers may not wear masks if they don’t have to leave their cars. His employees, however, always make sure they wear masks when making deliveries to cars.

Rocky Searle of Carquest Auto Parts in Cuba said, “We’re always wearing masks, mainly to keep our employees and customers safe​,” 

Employees at Pleasant Valley Greenhouses & Nursery in the Town of Olean also always wear masks, and they use extra hand sanitizer during this time, owner Dan Evans said.

Askey emphasized that safety precautions are "essential, especially for small businesses, because we have no backup that comes in if we get sick.”

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit  TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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