ALEXANDRIA, VA — With a face mask mandate and other coronavirus-related state guidelines in place, businesses have often been faced with enforcement.
The interactions with customers are not always pleasant ones. As first reported by ALX Now over the summer, a customer spit on the owner of Abyssinia Market & Coffee House when asked to wear a mask.
And when City Council was considering its own local face mask requirement, In September, Alan Pounders, who runs a business in Alexandria, testified that enforcement of guidelines has fallen on his business. He reported being physical assaulted by two men for asking them to wear a mask, and he and his staff have been verbally assaulted.
The city's face mask ordinance was approved and took effect on Oct. 1. It expands on the statewide order by requiring face masks in outdoor public places where social distancing cannot be maintained. Virginia's requirement has been in effect in indoor public places since May 29.
With enforcement of pandemic guidelines in mind, city partners are planning training on conflict resolution. The City of Alexandria, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Visit Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department are sponsoring free conflict resolution training sessions for employees that interact with customers in businesses and organizations in Alexandria.
The two-hour virtual sessions will help employees boost conflict resolution skills, and ensure they are prepared to respond to stressful and charged interactions with customers.
Monday, Oct. 19 at 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The events are free, and multiple people from any Alexandria-based organization can participate. Registration is available through Eventbrite.