Retail Chains around the country are being forced to decide whether to require facemasks and how to enforce that policy. As more states and businesses require customers to wear masks in stores, facemasks have been a hot topic in the debate over how to stop the spread of COVID-19. Americans have never liked to be told what to do and being told to stay inside and wear facemasks when out in public is no different. People who are opposed to forced shutdowns and social-distancing requirements are defying mask mandates, leaving grocers and retailers to weigh public health requirements against the risk of putting workers in harm’s way.
In May, a security guard in Flint, Michigan, was fatally shot after confronting a customer for refusing to wear a facemask. There have been reports on assaults on store personnel at retailers across the country; from a 7-Eleven convenience store in northern Indiana to a Target in Southern California. Retailers are taking different approaches. Some chains have advised workers to let customers in if they aren’t wearing masks, regardless of state and local laws require masks. Other stores are drawing a harder line, and having workers call local law enforcement if a customer is breaking the rules. Not enforcing the facemask rules also comes with risks, and not just to the health of workers and patrons. Local code enforcers gave a CVS pharmacy in California notice after an unmasked shopper was seen inside the store.
More states are mandating the use of masks and face coverings while in public. When states began lifting the shutdown orders, and more people started venturing out in public, the number of cases in several states began to rise. New York was one of the hardest-hit states when Covid-19 started spreading throughout the country. Even since the states reopening, the cases in New York have significantly dropped, and the increase in cases per day remains low. The state required the use of facemasks in mid-April, and a study by researchers in Texas and California showed the infection rate flatten after mandatory facemask requirements were put into place. Here is a list of other states that are requiring facemasks:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Facemasks have always been a big topic of debate when discussing how to stop the spread of COVID-19. Americans don’t like being told what to do, even when it comes to stopping the virus. Stores across the country have reported violence against workers who confronted customers for not wearing masks. Many people will have to get use to facemasks, as more states begin to require facemasks in public.