How It Feels to Have to Carry Out a Mask Policy

Q “I work in public transportation, and we still have strict mask requirements. I’ve had customers snatch the complimentary mask out of my hand and throw it on the floor. A woman flipped me off and said something profane. Many customers don’t acknowledge me when I politely tell them to wear a mask. What advice can you give me for enforcing a mask requirement while getting the respect I deserve?”

A. My daughter worked in the mall during the pandemic, and she’s shared similar mask-shucking stories with me. Here’s the advice I gave my daughter.

Your employer must have a clear mask policy.

Without a clear mask policy, customers will take liberties, argue, and you’ll be frustrated. If your company doesn’t have a clear mask policy, send them a link to this post because I’m about to spell it out for them.

Post signage at each entry point and on your website that is as clear as what I used to see on doors at gas stations and convenience stores:

“No shirt. No shoes. No service.”

Make the mask policy this clear:

“No mask, no service.”

You can be more polite, though. As in:

“We require all un-vaccinated customers to wear masks.”


“To protect yourself and others, particularly at-risk customers, we require un-vaccinated customers to wear masks for entry.”

When your mask policy is clear and visible on your website, storefront, and throughout the bus, train, or plane, it’s a bit easier for you to enforce the policy.

You’ll want to use the exact phrasing your company uses. Here’s how I’d do it.

“Do you happen to have a mask? To protect yourself and others, particularly at-risk customers, we require masks for entry.”

I wish you success and ease as you represent your company on the front lines. Thanks for trusting me with your question. 

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