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Banks, casinos to ask customers to lower face masks for security purposes

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MADISON (WKOW) -- At times you may be asked to remove your face mask briefly for some businesses to identify you. 

As Dane County’s mask mandate is now in effect, banks and financial institutions may ask customers to remove their face coverings for a few seconds for security purposes. 

The Wisconsin Bankers Association said members are historically uncomfortable with people disguising their faces but understand the circumstances during a pandemic. They are telling customers to be prepared to briefly lower their masks to allow bankers to identify them.

“When the mask is covering most or part of the face it prevents the banks from identity who that individual is,” said Mike Semmann, executive vice president/chief operations officer for the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

President & CEO of State Bank of Cross Plains Jim Tubbs says they’ve been accepting customers in their lobby by appointment only since the state enacted a safer at home order. Tubbs said so far they haven’t had any problems asking customers to remove their masks briefly.

“I think (wearing a mask) is becoming very common,” he said. “We’re doing this in everyone's best interest to make sure customers feel safe and secure."

If people are unwilling or unable to comply, Tubbs said customers still have options such as drive-through service or online banking.

WBA’s member banks are employing a variety of safety protocols so customers may be asked to: 

  • Lower your mask for a few seconds while facing a security camera 
  • Lower your mask for a few seconds to allow staff to identify them 
  • Answer security/identification verification questions (similar to using phone banking services) 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison will also be asking guests to lower their masks for security checks.

After passing an initial screening test where guests are asks to use hand sanitizer and wear a mask a security officer will also stop to enforce a brief mask removal.  

“After passing initial screening protocols the guest is asked to lower their mask in a second screening area, so Surveillance can get a clear image of their unobstructed face and a photo is taken,” said Missy Tracy, Relations Coordinator at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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