As the mask lifts, retail workers again feel vulnerable

Marilyn Rees, head bakery clerk at Kroger, Missville, Batesville, began to notice more customers roaming the store without masks this month after repealing the state’s mandate to cover the face. Kröger still needs them, but it does not matter.

When 56-year-old breast-cancer survivor Ms. Resse sees the shopkeepers, she prays. “Please, please, don’t let me wait on them, because in my heart, I don’t want to ignore them, I don’t want to refuse them,” she said. “But then I’m thinking that I don’t want to get sick or die. It’s not that people are bad, but you don’t know who they’ve come in contact with.”

Ms. Rees’s growing concern is shared by retail and fast-food workers in states such as Mississippi and Texas, where governments have removed masked mandates before vaccinating most people and new forms of irritating coronoviruses are appearing Huh. It seems like a return to the early days of the epidemic, when businesses said customers should wear masks, but there were no legal requirements and many shoppers simply refused. Many workers state that their stores do not enforce the requirement, and if they contact customers, they risk verbal or physical changes.

“It’s a huge misconception of safety, and it’s no different now than it was a year ago,” said Ms. Rees, who has not yet been able to receive a vaccine due to allergies. “The only difference we have now is that people are getting vaccinated, but not enough people have got vaccinated that they should lift the mandate.”

For many people who work in retail, especially in grocery stores and big-box chains, mask repeal is another example of how little protection and appreciation they have received during the epidemic. While they were praised as essential workers, that rarely Translated into additional pay Above their low salaries. Grocery employees were not initially given priority for vaccination Most states, Even though health experts cautioned the public to limit time in grocery stores because of the risk posed by new coronovirus variants. (Texas opened availability for everyone 16 and older on Monday.)

The issue has gained seriousness: On Monday, President Biden called the governors and mayors Maintaining or restoring orders to wear masks As the nation grapples with a possible increase in virus cases.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents about 900,000 grocery employees, said this month that at least 34,700 grocery workers across the country were infected or exposed to Kovid-19 and at least 155 workers were infected with the virus. had died. Recent mass shooting a Grocery store in Boulder, Colo., Has only pushed workers forward and added concerns about their safety.

Diane Cambray, a 50-year-old floor supervisor in Kroger, Midlothian, Texas, said she spent the last year worrying about bringing her 9-year-old son home with the virus and interacting with customers who were flippant. About the possibility of getting sick. She wears a double mask in the store even if it irritates her skin, itching already from psoriasis, and changes her clothes as soon as she gets home.

Greg Abbott of Texas said on March 2 that he would End statewide mask mandate The following week, Ms. Cambre said, customers immediately began “not wearing masks and accessories, and it is becoming very difficult not to wear one.” He said that the management is offering to give masks to those who have not worn them, but if they do not wear them, nothing else will be done.

Asking customers to wear masks can have stressful consequences and even Cart-pushing adults tantrums.

“Some of our customers are drama-prone, so they’ll start shouting, ‘I haven’t worn that mask,’ and you can tell that they are too harsh in their voice and too harsh,” Ms. Cambre, a UFCW member , he said. Viewing the self-checkout assays has been particularly challenging, she said, because customers who need help will demand that they arrive, making it impossible to maintain a distance of six feet.

When he said, “He said,” It’s okay, and it’s just a government thing, “” It really takes a toll on you mentally. “

A representative from Kroger said that “as long as all our frontline grocery partners can get the Kovid-19 vaccine, the chain” will continue to wear masks to everyone in our stores across the country. Received vaccine.

Different states and business mandates make some workers more concerned Collision. The retail industry was already trying to finalize the issue, when a major trade group started training together to help manage workers and mask, social disturbances, and the range of store capacity Helped to end disputes with opposing customers. Refusal to serve people without a mask, Or asking them to leave, has led to incidents in the past year such as being punched in the face of a cashier, breaking the hand of a target employee and the fatal shooting of one Family Dollar Security Guard.

This month, in the city of Texas near Houston, a 53-year-old man Refused to wear Essential masks in one Jack in the Box According to a report by The Houston Chronicle, he confronted employees and then stabbed a store manager three times. On March 14, a San Antonio Ramon shop Vandalized After his boss criticized Mr. Abbott on television for lifting Texas’s mandate with racist graffiti.

On 17 March, a 65-year-old woman was arrested Office depot in texas city Just a few days after he refused to wear a mask or leave the store, an arrest warrant was issued for him in Gallowston, Texas, for behaving in the same manner Bank of america Location.

Mary Kayur, owner of two antique stores in Dallas, including Lula Bee’s Design District, said the mask mandate repel meant a lot to the stores and the behavior of the people.

“They should have focused more on getting vaccinated rather than trying to open everything up to the people,” said Governor Abbott, noting that Texas has one of the nation’s slowest vaccination rates.

“You’re still the case every day in Texas, and you’re the only people still dying from Kovid,” she said. “It is foolish to carry out this mandate. It should not have been based on politics – it should have been based on science. “

Some Texans have started looking for facade-friendly installations. Ms. Keylar said the list of Dallas businesses requiring masks was circulating on Facebook, and people were advising them to find out where to buy groceries and make other purchases.

Emily Francois, a Walmart sales associate in Port Arthur, Texas, said customers were ignoring signs of wearing masks and that Walmart was not enforcing the policy. So Ms. Francois lives six feet away from shopkeepers who do not wear masks, even though some of them have been offset. “My life is more important,” he said.

Ms. Francois, who has worked at Walmart for 14 years and is a member of the United Nations for Honor Group. “Customers coming to the store without masks make us feel that we are not worthy, we are not safe.”

A Walmart spokesman, Philip Keene, said that “our policy to wear masks to associates and customers in our shops has helped protect them during the epidemic, and we are not taking those measures at this time.”

Ms. Rees, a Kroger clerk epidemic in Mississippi, was wearing a mask to protect herself from the flu due to her diagnosis of cancer.

She said that 99 percent of the customers in her small store wore masks during the epidemic. “When they had to apply it, they applied it,” she said. “It’s like giving a piece of candy to a child – that child is going to eat that candy until you take it from them.”

He is concerned about potential losses from the new variants, especially those that do not cover his mouth. Ms. Resse, who is also a UFCW member and has worked for Kroger for over 30 years, all you have to do is pray and pray that you are not up to six feet of them or 10 feet for that matter. “I know people want it back to normal, but you can’t do it back to normal.”

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