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Retail Industry Leaders Association asks for mandatory mask requirement

The Retail Industry Leaders Association is calling on governors to mandate face coverings in public. They say retail workers have unfairly been placed on the front-line of enforcement. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Some major retailers say they’re on board with requiring a mandatory face mask requirement in public.

Mask requirement everywhere?

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other major chains, says local health orders have only created confusion for them and their customers. Additionally, they blame that confusion for creating conflict between customers and store employees.

A number of recent videos have gone viral online, including a woman refusing to wear a face covering while at a Trader Joe’s in California.

Now, the Retail Industry Leaders Association is calling on all governors to make face coverings required.

List of concerns

In a letter to the National Governors Association, they lay out some of their concerns.

“Retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers who are under the misguided impression that wearing a mask is a violation of their civil liberties,” explains Brian Dodge, the retail association’s president.

The letter goes on to say the retailers “respectfully ask that those governors that haven’t yet required masks in public to do so immediately.” Hodge says the document was specifically addressed to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The National Governors Association said Tuesday that its members are discussing the request. 

For the time being, Hodge is encouraging store workers to get their point across with signage, instead of verbal interactions. According to him, such conversations are rarely well-received.

“Given the troubling incidents we have all seen on social media involving aggressive customers refusing to wear a mask, we strongly recommend store employees not be charged with primary enforcement of mask mandates and that retailers not be fined for a customer’s non-compliance,” he explains.

As of now, less than half of all U.S. states require a face-covering in public.



How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States