Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,092,855 — Total deaths: 736,254 Total recoveries — 12,350,879Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,094,565 — Total deaths: 163,465 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."
15 hours ago - Health

At least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic

Former California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell on Feb. 27 in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At least 48 local and state-level public health leaders have retired, resigned or been fired across 23 states since April, according to a review by the AP and Kaiser Health News.

Driving the news: California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell resigned on Sunday without explanation, a few days after the state fixed a delay in reporting coronavirus test results that had affected reopenings for schools and businesses, AP reports.

Aug 10, 2020 - World

Azar conveys Trump's "strong" support for Taiwan during historic visit

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks as Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen looks on during his visit to the Presidential Office in Taipei on Monday. Photo: Pei Chen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar praised Taiwan during a visit Monday for being a "vital partner, a democratic success story, and a force for good in the world."

Why it matters: The highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979 shows the increasing importance of the island state, which China considers to be part of its territory. It comes at a time of heightened tension between the Trump administration and the Chinese government.