STUART, Fla. — Martin County leaders announced Friday that retail, restaurant and grocery store workers must wear masks, effective immediately.
Commissioners said they understand that many businesses are struggling as they begin to reopen and that the Roosevelt Bridge being closed isn't helping.
That's why they're launching new initiatives to help customers get back out and about, shopping safely.
"Yesterday was a pretty slow day," said Judi Farley, owner of Radiant Outfitters in downtown Stuart. "We definitely had impact from the bridge."
Farley said the closure of the Roosevelt Bridge, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, has been the perfect recipe for disaster for her business.
To help grow consumer confidence and stop the spread of the coronavirus, Martin County officials are asking businesses to take a pledge to follow guidelines.
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"Businesses have been really struggling with everything and are starting to reopen and figure out how to navigate this new COVID landscape, and now with the bridge closing, there's a lot of concern with whether or not people are going to want to come downtown," said Nerissa Okeye, Martin County's tourism director.
Once businesses sign up on MartinTogether.com, they'll have access to branded 6-feet floor spacers and will be included in a free advertisement campaign put on by the county.
"It's a huge threat because people are just unaware that everything is open and opening up and following guidelines and doing everything they can to stay in business," said Okeye.
Farley said she's happy the county is getting involved.
"I definitely am glad that we have the support of the county to help people feel safe and encourage them to come out," said Farley. "We wear masks to respect our customers. It's something we do. We do wipe down our doors. We wipe down our surfaces, the register, and we also provide hand sanitizer if anybody wants to use that."