WASHINGTON — Despite some states and communities lifting their mask requirements and temporary restaurant occupancy limits, the National Retail Federation (NRF) continues to encourage customers to wear masks in stores nationwide.
“Mandate or not, retailers are on the front lines of the pandemic, safely providing goods and services, and now vaccines, to people across the country,” said Bill Thorne, senior vice president of communications and public affairs for NRF. “This is not due to government mandates; it is because of their proven commitment to do the right thing for their employees and their neighbors in the communities they serve.”
On March 2, governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi both lifted their state’s mask requirements and in Texas, Abbott increased the permitted capacity of all businesses to 100%.
Still, Thorne reminded consumers and retailers that they have a right and responsibility to maintain cautious behavior to protect themselves and those around them.
“Retail stores are private entities. If they require you to wear a mask in their stores, and you choose not to, that store can refuse admission or service,” he said. “Retailers are private businesses, and it is within their right to implement and enforce policies that protect the health and the safety of their employees and their customers.
He added, “As we have seen throughout the pandemic, states and municipalities have mandated mask policies, yet have failed to provide any enforcement mechanisms, leaving it up to individual business operators to take steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and other health experts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Research shows the vast majority of consumers are not only aware of the importance of wearing a mask, 87% of consumers surveyed are willing to wear a mask if the business required it, even if they had the vaccine.”
The National Retail Federation, based in Washington, is the world’s largest retail trade association, advocating for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive.