Private sector leads the way on masks

Retailers make health and safety of employees and customers the first priority

For retailers, the health and safety of employees and customers is always the number one priority. During COVID-19, the lack of clarity and uniform decisions about face coverings from elected officials — at federal and state levels — is putting the recovery of our economy at risk.

Evidence increasingly shows masks reduce the spread of COVID-19. When coupled with other measures like social distancing and handwashing, these efforts help keep our workers and customers safe, our economy open and millions of people employed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised we can have the pandemic under control in one to two months if people wear masks.

NRF calls on retailers to set nationwide mask policy 

Read more.

Workers serving customers should not have to decide whether to risk exposure to the deadly coronavirus or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear a face covering.

For several months NRF has asked elected leaders for a national mask standard to be implemented locally. These mandates would help retailers keep their stores safe and help enforce compliance.

Rather than wait out this political paralysis — and risk more damage to our nation’s health and economy — we saw this as an opportunity for the private sector to lead. NRF is encouraging retailers to adopt nationwide policies requiring customers to wear face coverings while shopping in stores during the pandemic. 

Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. If customers do not follow store rules, they can be asked to leave.

NRF applauds the leadership of companies like Nordstrom, Target, Walmart, CVS, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Gap, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and so many others that have implemented nationwide mask mandates (see a full list here). 

Retailers have served on the front lines throughout the pandemic and have implemented protocols and procedures to operate safely. And it has worked.

We must do everything possible to avoid a devastating second wave of shutdowns. It’s become clear: Part of the price for keeping our economy open and people working is for everyone to wear a face covering in public.  

Our elected leaders need to set politics aside and follow retail’s example with a national mask standard.

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