Biz owners in a ‘conundrum’ when NYPD urges stores to have customers de-mask over crime

In a total reversal of policy, police in New York City are now asking residents, especially those frequenting retail establishments, to not wear COVID masks anymore in an effort to help security cameras identify criminals as crime spirals further and further out of control in the Big Apple.

A video from what appears to be ABC 7 has gone viral, detailing efforts by the NYPD to get New Yorkers to ditch their masks and smile for security cameras instead.

“Store owners in New York City tonight finding themselves in something of a tough conundrum. Cops asking them to urge customers not to wear COVID masks inside the stores like they’ve done for three years,” the anchor reported.

“If there’s a robbery, and there are many these days, surveillance cameras could record the faces. While many owners worry they’ll face confrontations with customers if they did that. But how else to fight crime?” he asked switching to another reporter.

“Shop at your own risk, says Norma Jean,” he intoned before cutting to a woman speaking out about robberies.

“They have to try to do something to try to bring the crime down because it’s out of control,” she commented. “I don’t remember it being this bold and in your face.”

The reporter then went on to recount one particularly brutal robbery.

“It doesn’t get much more bold than this robbery at Diamond Collect in Flushing on Feb. 22nd,” the reporter stated, showing a brazen robbery taking place.

“Exclusive video showing the suspects casing the joint before ambushing and beating a 79-year-old employee. Police say they are having trouble identifying suspects who target stores because they’re wearing masks. Now urging store owners to be pro-active in the crime-fighting effort,” the reporter continued before showing a police captain speaking on the issue.

“We’re asking the businesses to make this a condition of entry that when people come in they show their face,” the officer advised.

The reporter then turned to a local business owner for his take.

“Bronx bodega owner Francisco Marte is no stranger to crime,” the reporter continued.

“I’ve been myself shot three times,” Marte told him.

“But he says this latest guidance from the NYPD puts business owners in a bad spot,” the reporter added.

“That would be great, yes, everybody coming in with their face up so the camera can see. We all can see. But cannot force them to take off their mask,” Marte pointed out.

“That Marte says will lead to confrontation with customers who still want to mask up because of COVID,” the reporter noted.

He then spoke with a customer to get his opinion on going maskless.

“It would be like I’m kind of offended because I feel it’s like my own way of feeling safe,” he told the newsman.

“But Marte tells us he’s taking measures into his own hands. He’s planning on upgrading his surveillance system to include facial recognition technology. Now he does anticipate some pushback, but he says this will be a much more effective tool in combatting crime,” the reporter remarked. “But some shoppers say the NYPD’s new guidance makes sense.”

Norma Jean stated, “People come inside the store and you can’t see anything but their eyes.”

“Hoping businesses will abide and criminals will be deterred,” the reporter added and then turned to another customer.

“It’s time for us to be safe… feeling safe again,” the woman told him.

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