Starbucks becomes latest retailer to make masks mandatory
Starbucks last week joined a small group of multi-state retailers that are requiring customers to wear masks for entry across all locations.
The mandate, to begin July 15, is part of Starbucks’ “continued effort in prioritizing the health and well-being” of employees and customers during the pandemic, the coffee giant said. The chain will provide drive-thru, curbside pickup or online delivery service for those without masks.
Starbucks joins seven other multi-state retailers enacting a storewide ban: Costco, Apple, H-E-B, Dollar Tree, Verizon, AT&T and Menards. The majority of other retailers follow local guidelines.
Approximately 20 states have a statewide mask mandate, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expressed that everyone “should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.”
The question of mask requirements in recent weeks has only been accelerating as a political hot button. On Friday, a USA Today article noted that lawmakers in more conservative states in the South and West have strongly opposed mask mandates. The article pointed to incidents of shoppers rebelling against wearing masks going viral on social media “as some right-leaning Americans have called masks a tool of oppression, Democratic conspiracy, and even sacrilege.”
In a letter sent last week to the National Governors Association, RILA president Brian Dodge urged governors not to charge store employees with the primary enforcement of mask mandates or fine retailers for customers’ non-compliance. “Retailers are using extensive signage at entrances and through the store to enforce safety policies, and we recommend this be the role of retailers and employees — to clearly communicate policy, but not physically confront customers,” he wrote.
The letter also called for a uniform approach across states, noting that “conflicting orders and guidelines from counties and municipalities create confusion for employees and customers, and ultimately leads to conflict.”
Finally, Mr. Dodge urged individuals not encumbered by a medical condition to wear masks when shopping or in public places. “Wearing a mask is about respecting others and preventing the spread of a deadly disease. This should no longer be up for debate,” he wrote.
- Navigating through COVID-19 – Starbucks
- Starbucks will require customers to wear masks – CNN
- RILA Letter To National Governors Association – RILA
- As coronavirus surges in Republican territory, so does rage over masks – USA Today
- Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Starbucks’ move to make masks mandatory for in-store customers likely heighten or lessen the risk of confrontations from shoppers? What practical solutions do you see to avoiding conflicts over masks while ensuring the safety of shoppers and customers?