May 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Retailers left to implement face mask policies as some customers refuse

Store Director Bill Eschbach hangs up a sign in the beef section that reads "Due to the COVID-19 virus all sales of beef are limited to 1 family pack unit per family."
Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Groceries, drug stores and retailers are trying a variety of methods to enforce face mask mandates and protect employees, following customer complaints and assaults across the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: State governments are implementing face covering orders, but have provided businesses with little guidance on how to enforce the rules when mask-less customers enter stores. Retailers are weighing "public-health requirements against the risk of putting their workers in harm’s way," the Journal writes.

The state of play: Some retailers such as Target only require customers to wear face masks in stores if a local or statewide mandate is in place. Meanwhile, others like Costco are requiring masks regardless of government orders and customer backlash.

  • A security guard in Flint, Michigan was fatally shot earlier this month after trying to implement Family Dollar's face mask policy.
  • In California, a security guard at a Target store reportedly suffered a broken arm after confronting two men who weren't wearing masks, per the Journal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear face masks when in public, especially in places where social distancing is hard to implement, such as grocery stores.

Go deeper: White House recommends Americans wear masks in public

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