Customers Are Angry That These Beloved Stores Don't Require Face Masks
These companies have upset patrons by not requiring everyone to wear face masks inside.
Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending that everyone wear face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the use of face masks has become a divided issue among Americans. Some believe that it's their right to choose not to wear a face mask, while others strongly believe that face masks should be required by local governments and businesses alike to help keep everyone safe. Some stores have issued nationwide face mask requirements, mandating customers in every store wear face coverings while shopping. Other stores, however, have decided to only encourage their patrons to wear face masks, but not require them—a decision that has angered many loyal customers.
Despite being one of the largest retailers in the country, Walmart is one of the beloved stores not requiring customers to wear face masks. They are requiring that associates wear face coverings while at work, but their website says they are only "encouraging customers to wear face coverings" when they shop in stores. Patrick Casteel, a resident from Fredonia, New York, told a WKBW reporter that he was "so disgusted and worried" by how many people were not wearing masks inside his local Walmart that he's decided not to revisit the store during the pandemic.
Starbucks has a similar policy, requiring employees to wear face coverings while at work, but only "requesting" (not requiring) customers to do so as well. This lax policy has upset some patrons, who have started a petition to get Starbucks to issue a customer face mask requirement, saying that the company is "doing nothing to protect employees from customers" or customers from each other. The petition currently has over 800 signatures.
Only time will tell if the Starbucks petitioners' efforts pay off in the same way a similar petition for H-E-B, a supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, did. Many patrons were outraged after the company announced they were no longer requiring customers to wear face masks on June 2, the San Antonio Business Journal reported. These angry customers started a petition to push the chain to reinstate the policy, and it garnered more than 44,000 signatures. The petition seemed to work—with some judicial intervention. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued a new executive order on June 17 requiring businesses to implement coronavirus safety policies, including a requirement that employees and customers wear face coverings. H-E-B announced it would reinstate the requirement starting June 22.
However, it's not just stores that are dealing with backlash. Former governor of California, actor, and professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger made headlines this week after he announced he was leaving his go-to gym spot, Gold's Gym in Venice, California, because the company isn't requiring patrons to wear face masks, CBS Los Angeles reported.
"We love Arnold and completely respect his decision. We know that where to go and what to do as the country reopens is an important personal decision that everyone must make for themselves," Gold's Gym CEO Adam Zeitsiff told CBS. "Venice members are required to wear face masks when entering and existing the gym … and while we don't require for members to wear face masks during their workout, we absolutely strongly encourage it." And for more ways your store experience may change after coronavirus, check out these 7 Things You Won't See at Retail Stores Ever Again After Coronavirus.