Texas-based retailer, H-E-B, will require staff and customers to wear masks in its stores indefinitely.
In a recent statement, H-E-B announced that it would continue its ongoing policy of requiring staff and customers to wear masks at all times when in its stores.
Their statement follows their initial announcement, in which the company stated that it would require staff to wear masks and encourage customers to do the same – offering masks to customers without them upon entry.
On March 5, however, the company reversed their decision, stating that it would adhere to its ongoing policy:
“While statewide policy has changed, our store protocol has not. Mask use at our stores will remain” the company wrote in a statement. Our signs requiring mask use will remain posted at entrances and we will continue to make announcements in store.”
“The CDC, state and local health officials strongly advise the use of masks or facial coverings in public spaces as a proven way to prevent the spread of Covid-19. To help keep Texans healthy, we’ve had several safety protocols in place since the early days of the pandemic, and until all Texans including our Partners have access to the Covid-19 vaccine, we will continue these efforts.”
Despite the governor’s undoing of the mask mandate, countless grocers, restaurants, bars, gyms, and shopping centers across the state will continue to require customers to wear face coverings.
Abbott himself stated in an interview with ABC13 on March 5 that state officials still encourage Texans to wear masks and practice other safe practices:
“”[In] regard to the mask mandate, we are still urging people to continue to wear the mask, to continue to use the safe practices that they have mastered over the past year,” Abbott said. “Because Texans have mastered the safe strategies [inaudible] they know the right thing to do.”
In anticipation of a backlash that many retailers, including H-E-B, have already faced since the onset of the mask mandate, in which mask-less customers have vehemently lashed out at employees enforcing company policies, H-E-B is asking for kindness and understanding.
“The ending of mask ordinances puts real pressure on retailers to enforce an emotional topic for many. We ask for kindness and understanding from our customers in our expectation of them to wear masks in our stores,” the company wrote.
“As Texans helping Texans, let’s continue to protect each other while in our stores. Let’s keep wearing masks, to protect yourself, our fellow Texans, and our dedicated Partners who are committed to helping our communities throughout this pandemic and every other crisis this state may face.”