On March 2, Texas became the fifth state to lift its “mask mandate” that required individuals to wear face coverings while inside, on public transportation, and when social distancing of six feet or more was not achievable. Currently 33 states and the District of Columbia have such mandates in place, while six states have removed their previous requirements, according to the AARP. Two more states, Alabama and Utah, are set to lift their mask mandates at the beginning of April.
In his announcement about lifting the mask mandate, Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that too many businesses had been struggling to pay bills and that it was time for businesses in Texas to re-open to 100 percent capacity.
Despite this statewide order, some cities—like Austin—are choosing to continue requiring masks and face coverings. In addition, some private retail and restaurant chains have announced that they will also keep their mask requirements in place. The decision of individual cities and chains to make masks mandatory inside their buildings raises the question of enforcement and how private businesses or local governments will follow through on their requirements without the backing of a state-wide mandate. The ramifications of this question are ominous. In Los Angeles, a security guard at Family Dollar was shot and killed after asking a customer to wear a mask, while a security guard at Target suffered a broken arm from a similar situation, according to CNN.
The mask requirements in retail buildings and grocery stores can differ from state to state and from chain to chain. According to CNN, leading retailers and grocery chains that are requiring masks include:
- Best Buy
Whether or not your commercial building requires staff and visitors to wear masks, it is important that it meets infection control requirements and reduces the possible transmission of COVID-19 and other airborne diseases.
Grocery store chains HEB and Albertsons have said that they will still require employees to wear masks, but will follow state and local guidelines when it comes to enforcing the requirement for shoppers.
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