RI Businesses prep to provide masks for workers by Saturday

WEST WARWICK, RI (WLNE)  – After Gov. Raimondo signed an executive order on Tuesday requiring all essential employees to wear face coverings while at work, some business owners have been scrambling to try and get a hold of them.

The order states that businesses must provide the masks for employees, but the problem for some businesses like restaurants, finding masks has been challenging, and given the circumstances, money has been tight.

For Roberto Leon, owner of Condesa Mexican Restaurant in West Warwick, it’s been a trying month after dine-in service was shut down.

“Weekdays we’re down about 70 percent, weekends we’re down about 50 percent,” Leon said.

Leon has been searching online to find masks for his employees but had no luck.

“We got to try and keep everybody safe. So we’ll do our part obviously. Hopefully, we can find them,” he said. “Hopefully somebody can help us out with these masks.”

But a problem for Leon, though most of his employees already have masks, any little expense right now hurts his bottom line, even for something as simple as a few masks.

“Every expense is highlighted right now it’s definitely more of a burden,” Leon said. “The heaters are never on right now, the AC won’t be on either if this goes into June you know. We just have to figure it out. It’s just challenging times.”

Down in Charleston, after Jennie Noyes was laid off from her restaurant job, she began sewing masks for close friends, and quickly the demand rose.

“That’s all I do from the time I get up until I got to bed,” Noyes said.

Just in the last month Noyes has made about 300 masks, and with the order signed by Raimondo, calls have been picking up and she’s hoping to make another 100 masks by the weekend.

“This week I’ve had more calls from people that need them more so than when it first started,” she said. “I’ve got a list of people who need them and I just try to fill as many as I can.”

For business owners like Leon, he’s searching elsewhere to get what he needs by Saturday.

“We found a couple of local people that can make them,” Leon said. “So we’re going to try and call them and get in contact with them and see if they can make a few masks for us.”

The state will be making the rounds on Saturday to make sure businesses in the state are complying with the order.

Categories: News