CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid have all instructed workers not to refuse service to patrons who choose not to wear masks.
May 1, 2020
Fox Business – Retail chains from CVS to 7-Eleven are being forced to decide whether and how to enforce rules on masks after a string of attacks on clerks and security guards by patrons who refused to cover their faces.
As more cities, states and businesses require customers to cover up in stores, face coverings have become a flashpoint in the debate over how to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Some opponents of forced shutdowns and social-distancing requirements are flouting mask mandates, leaving grocers, drugstore chains and big-box retailers to weigh public-health requirements against the risk of putting their workers in harm’s way.
This month’s fatal shooting of a security guard in Flint, Mich., following a face-mask dispute with a customer is the most extreme case of violence around the issue, but it isn’t an isolated incident.
Assaults on store personnel have been reported at retailers across the country, from a Target in Southern California to a 7-Eleven convenience store in northern Indiana.
“It gets pretty confrontational. People are getting in our faces and are really angry with our managers and employees when it’s not our rule,” said Shaunte Wisch-Thompson, who works at a Kroger in Streator, Ill., a small town about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.
An executive order by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker mandates masks in public when people can’t maintain distance from one another.
Ms. Wisch-Thompson said one man refused her request that he don a mask, saying he didn’t vote for the governor.
She said she tries to reason with shoppers but doesn’t force the issue. “It’s not my job to enforce masks—I’m not a manager.”
Retailers are taking varied approaches. Some chains have advised workers to let mask-less customers in despite state and local laws, while others are drawing a harder line on site or directing workers to call local law enforcement if a shopper breaks the rule.
Costco Wholesale Corp. faced angry critics and a boycott after the warehouse retail chain said earlier this month that all customers must wear a mask, whether or not one is required by local governments … Read more.