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Walmart, Home Depot Won’t Enforce Face Mask Rules Following Violent Confrontations
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases looks on before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Nearly every day there’s another story about a fight breaking out over the wearing of masks.

Just a couple days ago, a Starbucks barista in California was allegedly punched in the face for asking the customer to put a mask on. And a couple weeks ago, a New York man allegedly assaulted a manager and bartender after being asked to put on a face mask to comply with their COVID-19 safety protocols.

The confrontations have turned deadly. A security guard at a Family Dollar store in Michigan was shot dead in May after he told a customer to wear a mask.

Now, a bunch of big stores are deciding the fight just isn’t worth it.

Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, CVS, and Walgreens, along with other nationwide retailers, say they’ll serve customers even if they violate mask mandates, according to CNN. The retailers simply want to avoid confrontations between angry customers and employees.

Many states have mandated the wearing of masks, but some have loopholes. Virginia, for example, has a statewide order for residents to wear them, but people with medical issues do not have to comply — and retailers are not allowed to ask people why they aren’t wearing a mask or demand to see proof that they actually have a medical issue.

“Walmart, the largest retailer in the country, said it would station employees it calls health ambassadors at the entrance of stores to remind shoppers about mask compliance as they enter,” CNN reported.

If a customer refuses to wear a mask, health ambassadors are instructed to let the customer into the store and notify management “so that they can determine the next steps.”

In talking points for Walmart ambassadors and management, a member of management is instructed to ask if the customer would like a complimentary mask. If the customer refuses, “let them continue to shop,” the talking points say. The video tells ambassadors never to engage with a customer physically or try to block their entrance into the store. “With every requirement there are exceptions that have been established to avoid escalating the situation and putting our associates in harm’s way,” a Walmart representative said. “Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation in the stores.”

The debate over masks has raged for weeks, with some liberals demanding everyone don one while some conservatives find the orders intrusive. Social media exploded last week when Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, was seen with his mask down while sitting shoulder to shoulder with two people after having thrown out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game.

“When he thinks the cameras are off, Fauci makes a mockery of his ‘social distancing’ recommendations and proceeds to brush off his own advocacy,” wrote Jordan Schachtel.

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