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The parent company of Southern supermarket chain Winn-Dixie will not require face masks to be worn in its roughly 500 stores, saying it doesn't want to "put [its] associates in a position to navigate interpersonal conflict," reports the Washington Post.
Why it matters: The announcement underscores the political partisanship that has surrounded face mask requirements, despite scientific evidence suggesting they have been effective in stemming the spread of the coronavirus.
- Winn-Dixie's stores are located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi — all states President Trump won in 2016.
- 28 states and the District of Columbia have issued some form of mask mandate.
What they're saying: "Our associates have seen that mask mandates are a highly charged issue with our customers," Joe Caldwell, director of corporate communications and government affairs for Southeastern Grocers, told the Post via email.
- "We do not want to put our associates in a position to navigate interpersonal conflict or prohibit customers from shopping in our stores."