One store in Beverly Hills, California is banning visitors from wearing masks, citing the recent wave of robberies in which employees have been unable to identify thieves because their faces were covered.
The owner of the boutique clothing store, Kitson, said he has noticed a “disturbing” trend of people using masks to avoid detection , according to FOX 11.
“The mask mandate may have begun as a health precaution but we believe it is now being used by some people for nefarious purposes. To that end, we enacted our own mandate of sorts,” Fraser Ross said. “We do not allow the wearing of masks in the store during regular business hours. Those people who wish to wear masks are free to set up an appointment for a personal shopping experience or visit our website.”
A sales associate at the store also said that the recent crime wave at the store has stopped some people from shopping there.
“This is not something we wanted to do, but it’s what we have to do to keep the safety of our employees and our assets,” Santos Hemenway said.
Many businesses around the country have implemented mask recommendations or mask requirements for customers in an attempt to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hemenway also said that in recent robberies, even their high-end cameras haven’t been able to identify the suspects due to one issue: Masks.
“Especially in the last few weeks, we’ve had multiple events where people have come in using masks and have chosen to steal or try to steal assets from our store which is very unfortunate. We definitely have security guards at all of our stores and we’ve installed high-security cameras, but [the mask] covers their face, the most important part of their face that we need to use when showing the police,” Hemenway said.
According to the sales associate, other stores within the area are also seeing robberies, forcing some stores to shut down.