Grocery CEO to anti-maskers – Got a complaint, call me on my cell.
While the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization both recommend the wearing of cloth masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and public health experts say the evidence backing their use is clear, they remain unpopular with a small segment of U.S. grocery shoppers. Some have grown irate or even violent with employees when asked to mask up in-store. The CEO of a regional grocery chain in the Northeast has decided that if customers have a problem with a store’s mask rule, they can call and talk to her about it directly.
If a customer enters one of the 25 Kings Food Market locations in New Jersey, New York or Connecticut without a mask, the customer is first handed a packet containing a complementary mask and a card explaining why the chain requires that masks be worn at all times in the store, according to Today. At the bottom of the card is the phone number to contact Judy Spires, CEO of Kings, on her personal cell phone and a message advising customers to call if they have questions or concerns about the policy. Ms. Spires introduced the policy to take potential pressure off of employees confronted by anti-mask customers.
There has been at least one instance so far in a Kings location in which a customer began shouting over the mask rule and called Ms. Spires later to discuss it, according to Today. They agreed to disagree on the efficacy of masking, but the customer agreed to wear a mask when visiting the store.
Masking to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus has become a politicized point of disagreement in the U.S. The lack of a federal mandate has led to rules varying across states, municipalities and business verticals and has created confusion over who is responsible for enforcing the rules and how retailers can enforce them.
Some states have faced further complications. In Georgia, for instance, until mid-August Governor Brian Kemp banned mayors from implementing local mask mandates, going as far as to sue to prevent one from being implemented, CBS News reports. His latest executive order, however, allows local mask mandates.
- Grocery chain CEO is giving patrons her number if they want to debate mask policy –Today
- A Message From Our CEO – Kings Food Markets
- Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus –University of California San Francisco
- Georgia governor allows local mask mandates, with limits – CBS News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Ms. Spires’ strategy for Kings Food Markets as a good way to mitigate and deal with complaints about mask policies for grocery stores? Would you be concerned about the risk to a CEO’s personal safety, or is this an effective way to defuse potentially difficult in-store situations and protect employees?