WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Some supermarkets stricter than others about requiring masks for customers

Posted June 29, 2020 7:59 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2020 9:22 p.m. EDT

— Area law enforcement agencies aren't enforcing the new statewide requirement that people cover their faces in public to limit the spread of coronavirus – some say the mandate is unenforceable, while others prefer to educate and encourage people to comply. So it's up to businesses to determine how strict they want to be in upholding the mask requirement.

Area supermarkets have taken a range of stances, from not allowing people inside without a mask to providing masks to customers who need them to allowing people to shop without masks.

Mike Cestaro, manager of a Carlie C’s IGA in east Raleigh, said he has gotten complaints about people not wearing masks.

"We’ve had a couple conversations up at the customer service desk, but we’ve been fortunate. Most people listen and, when they aren’t wearing one, it’s because they simply forgot to," Cestaro said.

The store sells masks for $1, he said, but asking customers to comply is a delicate matter. So, the store doesn't throw customers without masks out.

"It’s really just communicating. You know, just trying to tell people, 'Listen, guys, we are all in this together,'" he said.

Carlie C's customer Shanell Holloway said she tries to comply with the mask requirement but knows not everyone does.

"It’s kind of uncomfortable, but for health purposes, I’m OK wearing it," Holloway said. "Some people want to be in compliance, and some just don’t."

Lowes Foods and Trader Joe's also require masks but won't ask anyone without one to leave. Trader Joe's even provides masks to customers for free.

Costco requires customers to wear masks and provides them to anyone who needs one. Customers are asked to leave the store if they don't comply.

Food Lion also won't let anyone inside its Durham stores without a mask on.

Meanwhile, Target says shoppers must wear masks, but employees aren't going to approach people not wearing them.

Here are statements issued by other chains when asked about enforcing mask requirements:

Walmart: "Maintaining customer and associate safety remains our top priority. We encourage customers to be especially mindful of one another during this unprecedented time and adhere to recommendations and decisions made by local officials regarding the use of protective facial coverings while in public spaces."

Publix: "Masks are only required by customers in areas where a local ordinance requires this. We must comply with all local orders. Ordinance details are ever-changing and may vary by area."

Harris Teeter: "For those not in compliance, our policy is for a member of store management to approach the shopper to inform them of the order and offer a free, disposable mask. If the individual declines, we must remember and understand that there are many exceptions outlined in the order, and our associates are not authorized nor qualified to ask an individual to present proof that they qualify for an exception."

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