ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACS and several other retail groups are challenging a recent ruling that would make retail employees responsible for policing state and local pandemic mask mandates.
Following an Oregon Health Department rule that requires private businesses, employers and places of worship to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of people who don’t wear face masks in their facilities, the National Association of Convenience Stores and other associations have sent a letter to U.S. public health agencies asking them to issue statements “emphasizing that state and local rules should not place the burden of verifying vaccination on employees.”
The Energy Marketers of America; National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO); FMI, The Food Industry Association; National Grocers Association; National Retail Federation; Association International Franchise Association; and other groups joined NACS in sending the letter to the heads of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new Oregon policy requires “local businesses to verify the vaccination status of customers,” a policy that “is alarming,” the letter states. “As with mask mandates, requiring employees to confront customers in this way is calculated to lead to anger and violence. Many people feel strongly about their decisions regarding whether or not to get vaccinated. It simply is not the job of employees trying to serve Americans to challenge those beliefs—and that is undoubtedly how many individuals will take questions about vaccination status. … Policies like Oregon’s will risk the safety and well-being of employees.”
The groups “strongly urge” the federal agencies “to recognize the peril that these types of policies will create for employees and make public statements emphasizing that state and local rules should not place the burden of verifying vaccination on employees.”
Alexandria, Va.-based NACS is a trade association serving the convenience and fuel retailing industry. It has 1,500 retailer and 1,500 supplier members from more than 50 countries.