A Wisconsin grocery store is offering free color-coded bracelets for both customers and employees to show their comfort level with interacting with others during the pandemic.
Metcalfe’s Market in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin is providing free bracelets in three colors, red for individuals who want no close contact with others, yellow for those who are comfortable with an elbow bump, and green for those who are fine with a hug or high five.
Store offers color-coded bracelets for shoppers to show comfort levels https://t.co/Kv8zOjUk6r
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“As we continue to experience relaxed restrictions and updated CDC recommendations related to COVID — vaccines, face coverings, social distancing and so on — we realized there would be different comfort levels with these changes among our team members and shoppers,” said Tim Metcalfe, Metcalfe’s president and co-owner.
“If nothing else, it will probably put a lot of other folks at ease,” customer Howard Ellis told Wisconsin ABC-affiliate WISN 12.
“I think it’s great. I like shaking hands and hugging, so I’m getting me a green,” another customer told the outlet.
The grocery store began on Wednesday morning placing the individually wrapped bracelets near the entrances of its stores. Metcalfe’s made a one-time purchase of thousands of bracelets, according to WISN 12, and will assess whether to buy more when the supply is depleted.
“It’s probably going to be a tool for those who still want a little more space,” predicted Lisa Grudzielanek, Metcalfe’s Market’s health and wellness director.
As pandemic restrictions across the country are loosened, Metcalfe’s opted to no longer require its employees, vendors, or shoppers to wear face masks as long as they are fully vaccinated.
Non-vaccinated employees, vendors, and shoppers must still wear a face covering, but exemptions are granted for children under the age of 5, those with a medical or mental health condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face mask, and those who are hearing impaired or are communicating with someone who is, such that seeing the person’s mouth is essential for communication.
In May, several major retailers including Starbucks, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Costco announced they will no longer require face masks for vaccinated customers.
The change came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a major change to its guidance on face masks for fully vaccinated adults, saying they do not have to wear masks indoors, outdoors, or social distance, even when in larger groups.
“You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in announcing the new recommendations.
Late last month, Metcalfe was still weighing whether to allow employees and shoppers to go maskless before the store opted to allow vaccinated individuals to do so.
“I’ve been through a lot of things during my career in the grocery business,” Metcalfe said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this in my lifetime.”
The grocery store has three regular locations, all in southern Wisconsin, as well as an airport location in Wisconsin’s Dane County Regional Airport.