Chambers of Commerce distributing masks to small businesses to help customers comply with statewide order

Chambers of Commerce around Minnesota are helping small businesses by distributing masks to be handed out to customers.

Minnesota’s statewide masking order is in effect and businesses are looking to help their customers comply.

In the Twin Cities area, Chambers of Commerce are handing out hundreds of thousands of masks, all in an effort to make shoppers feel safe and comfortable with the new order.

The packages are being passed out from those Chambers to distribute to small business owners.

Business owners like Willy van Dooijeweert, of Urban Traveler in Roseville, have had to adapt quickly to the new order.

At Urban Traveler, face masks are not just part of doing business, they are quickly becoming his business.

For 35 years, van Dooijeweert has sold luggage and travel goods. Now, he’s pivoting because people aren’t traveling, but they are traveling between their homes and stores and they need masks to do so.

“What we’re most interested in is addressing customer confidence,” said B Kyle, the CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. “Because it’s confidence that gets people back into the stores, back into spending money. And if a mask mandate facilitates that growth, we’re in support of that.”

If customers want comfort to go along with confidence, van Doojieweert has them covered with special, adjustable straps.

The St. Paul Chamber of Commerce is distributing the masks to small businesses outside the River Center through Wednesday afternoon. The Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce is also set up in the parking lot outside of the Roseville Oval.

Another distribution site is setup in the southeast parking lot of the Maplewood Mall and at the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce.