Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | Financial Markets | Health Topics | Cold/Flu | masks | retailers

Some Stores Say They Won't Require Masks; Here's Why

a basket at walmart
(Elise Amendola/AP)

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 05:07 PM

Several high-profile national retailers, including Walmart and Home Depot, have said they will require customers to wear masks in the fight against COVID-19. Others, however, are taking the opposite approach, and the reason is simple: Employee safety.

Masks have become a political football, and several employees have been attacked across the country for attempting to enforce their stores' mask policy. In May, a security guard in Michigan was shot and killed at a Family Dollar store after he told a customer to wear a mask.

To avoid such confrontations, many retailers have decided to provide masks for customers, but not require them.

Both Foot Locker and the Hy-Vee supermarket chain said it will not require masks because of the difficulty in enforcing such a mandate and in putting their employees in the position of confronting customers who refuse to comply, CNN reported.

"All Foot Locker team members are required to wear masks and we want all our customers to wear them too," a Foot Locker spokesperson said. "But there are too many examples of retail employees across the country being harmed while trying to enforce the wearing of masks. And when it isn't state regulated it's even more contentious."

"Truth be told, it is very difficult for any retailer to enforce or police the wearing of masks by every single customer," a Hy-Vee spokesperson said. "Also, we don't want to put our employees in a highly confrontational situation with customers who might be very emotional about this issue — as has happened at other retail locations."

Some smaller chains, such as Adidas, Dollar Tree, and Bass Pro Shops, are relying more on state and local guidelines.

"We are following local public health guidelines, which vary from state to state and county to county," a Bass Pro Shops spokesperson told CNN. "Our COVID-related policies and procedures come from guidelines and requirements provided by public health officials, not anything else."

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To avoid confrontations, many retailers have decided to provide masks for customers, but not require them.
masks, retailers, covid-19, pandemic, mandate, public, safety, employee, customers
Tuesday, 28 July 2020 05:07 PM
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