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Businesses trying to find as many masks as possible ahead of Friday's requirement

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BATON ROUGE - Leading up to Friday's extension of the current stay-at-home order, countless businesses are making sure they have everything to continue serving customers. That includes those all-important masks. In some cases, getting those is easier said than done. 

"I think it's one of those things like, 'let me get my hands on some and let me make sure that we're prepared for Friday,'" Emelie Alton of Bistro Byronz said. 

"Then we know that in a couple of weeks we need to be prepared for the next phase, and it will just be something we'll have to try and stay on top of." 

At both Bistro Byronz locations, Alton has been stocking up on masks of all kinds over the past several weeks.

"We went ahead and purchased a few things early on," Alton said. "Some of our staff had purchased some of their own. We had some folks that actually were making some at home, so we bought a series of those just to have available."

That preparation is now paying off as all public-facing employees will be required to wear a face-covering starting Friday. With masks in such high demand, some businesses can't afford to shell out extra dollars right now. Others can't seem to find enough masks in time. But Alton is doing whatever she has to do.

"I have been a little bit sticker-shocked when I go out and start looking at what it cost," Alton said. "Then we take a step back. We're all trying to make sure we're doing the right things and spending our money the right way. But I do think probably spending the money is the right thing to do right now to keep our employees safe."

Even those getting their hands on masks, however, aren't finding them in bulk.

"We're digging in every can we can find, to find as many masks as we can," Mike Johnson of DiGiulio Brothers said.

Johnson spent Wednesday afternoon picking up masks at multiple area stores. He's surprised he's been able to find enough for the time being.

"I think if you'd asked me that question three weeks ago, I'd been panicked," Johnson said. "I might not have been able to open when they said May 1st because we couldn't find masks."

Even while some businesses are having more trouble than others trying to figure out what to do as Friday approaches, Alton is focused on making sure her employees and customers are safe, regardless of the trouble getting masks has turned out to be.

"We may not all have the best thing, and we don't all have the same thing," Alton said. "Some may be cute, and some may be plain and black. But the most important thing is that we all get on board with having them."

For more information about to properly clean and store your reusable mask, click here.

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