The Fresh Market will require customers to wear some kind of face covering when shopping in its stores starting Tuesday.
The chain grocer said Sunday the decision was made “as a safety precaution and in accordance with guidance from health authorities.”
“The Fresh Market continues to place the safety of their team members and guests as the top priority, and as this situation evolves, has added new policies and protocols following the guidance of The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization, Food & Drug Administration and local public health authorities,” company officials said in a news release. “Examples include physical distancing guidance throughout the store, reserved hours for guests in higher risk categories, contactless credit card checkout, limiting the number of guests in the store, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
Company officials said Fresh Market modified its policy – after the CDC updated face covering guidelines – to require employees to wear a face mask or cloth face covering while working in the store.
The Fresh Market has five locations across the region in Williamsburg, Newport News, Norfolk and two in Virginia Beach.
“In order to help keep our communities safe, wearing face coverings is a necessary measure in public settings where physical separation is difficult,” said James Ball, director of food safety and quality assurance. “There is growing evidence that more individuals than previously thought may be carriers of coronavirus but do not show symptoms of the illness. Wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of the virus by asymptomatic individuals. Since it is impossible to know who may be asymptomatic, it is prudent for everyone to wear a covering. The goal is to reduce the virus transmission to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
An email was sent out to guests on Saturday, in addition to posts on social media. Locations will also have signage outside the store about the new face covering policy and reminding guests to stay two carts (six feet) apart while shopping.
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