Mask up for retail workers

Published on July 08, 2020

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The grainy cellphone video quickly went viral. It showed a woman at a North Texas grocery store who had a meltdown after a store employee asked her to wear a mask inside the store.

The video showed the woman, waiting in the checkout lane, unleashing a profanity-laced tirade while snatching groceries out of her cart and tossing them on the floor. She eventually stormed out.

It was just one example of retail workers reluctantly becoming enforcers of public health guidelines. These workers, in addition to their regular duties, often must confront customers who refuse to wear masks or to maintain social distance from fellow shoppers.

Face coverings have become a flash point, with some shoppers saying it is their constitutional right not to wear a mask in public.

Shoppers should keep in mind that the employees who remind them to mask up are simply doing their jobs. It’s not fair to put these employees in the uncomfortable position of enforcing community health guidelines.

“Store employees are merely enforcing the orders of local, regional and state leaders and public health experts, Remember to be patient and kind to retail employees during these difficult times,” said Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth health officer and director of code compliance.

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces.”

Review the CDC’s latest guidance on wearing face coverings.