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NW grocers issue ‘urgent plea’ for public to always wear masks in businesses

'We can't do this alone:' Grocery association worried about possible confrontations, seen elsewhere in country

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Northwest Grocery Association issued an urgent call Saturday to the public to wear masks at all times when in a place of business, especially at your neighborhood grocery store.

The grade group represents the region's large grocery businesses, including Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons and Costco, as well as several small, independent chains, a representative said.

“While what we know about this virus continues to change, today we know for certain that social distancing and face masks (or coverings) are our most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but your grocery stores and retailers can’t do it alone,” said Amanda Dalton, legislative director for the association.

Dalton continued, “Since the beginning of the COVID crisis, grocery stores and their store teams have put in extraordinary effort to meet the needs of the local community. This has required extensive safety measures in all stores to safeguard the employees, customers and supply chains, ensuring stores are open, clean and stocked for customers.

"In every decision they have made, they have strived to balance the most urgent mission – to continue to meet the immediate and most essential needs of the public – while ensuring the safety of their employees and customers. 

"The store employees understand that when they wear masks for an entire day’s work, they are protecting themselves, their co-workers and their community, and they are hopeful to get the same consideration.”

As grocers and retailers continue to seek clarity around the expectations for enforcement and legal restrictions facing a business for either declining service or inquiring as to personal medical information, they currently must rely on the public to partner with them to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the association said in a statement.

The group said grocery stores continue to comply with all state and agency guidelines and have adapted quickly as those guidelines are revised and updated.

“It is important for the public to know that when they see a fellow customer in the grocery store without a mask, the retailer is required to assume the individual has a medical condition or disability preventing them from wearing a mask,” Dalton said.

In addition, they said, retailers must consider the safety of their employees.

"Across the country, we have seen stories of violence and aggression against grocery store employees for attempting to enforce mask mandates," the news release said. "These escalating incidents have presented new workplace safety issues, as grocery workers interact daily with a weary and at times frustrated public.

"Many grocers have done additional training and education with employees, preparing them for difficult situations and de-escalating these situations while ensuring everyone’s safety," the association said.

It said stores are balancing the various responsibilities of protecting the health safety of everyone in the stores, and are now trying to prevent volatile confrontations that could cause physical safety concerns for employees and customers in the store. 

Dalton continued, “We can’t do this alone. We urge all in our communities to join us in this call to protect our neighbors and employees. Please wear your mask!”


Oregon Guidance:

Requires the public to wear masks when out at a public place, including grocery stores. Applies to 8 counties (Clatsop July 1, 2020). Provides an exemption if the customer is a child under 12 or has a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe when wearing a mask, face shield, or face covering or has a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a mask, face shield, or face covering. View guidance here.

Washington Guidance:

Requires the public to wear masks when out in any indoor or outdoor public place, including grocery stores. Applies to Statewide. Provides an exemption if the customer is a child under 5 years of age or has a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. View guidance here and here.

ABOUT NWGA: The Northwest Grocery Association is the leading voice for the Pacific Northwest’s grocery industry in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The Association represents retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and suppliers that support the Pacific Northwest’s grocery industry.

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    1. It really doesn’t get much more selfish than that. Diabetic, hillbillies who are too stupid to take care of themselves let alone care about anyone else. Hopefully they will create the state of Jefferson then they can all go and live there in diseased poverty but have the freedom to infect each other at will.

        1. you always find a way to show your whiteness, regardless of the circumstances – funny how you pale guys can find a way to write other people being racist all day, every day

        1. You guys are so easily programmed by your handlers. You still probably think Sarah Palin said “I can see Russia from my house.” So much of what you believe are lies. What’s that feel like?

          1. Actually the line was from a SNL sketch. One of the funniest they’ve ever done. As for gullibility, maybe you should take a look in the mirror.

      1. When you fools bought into the idea that this is political, we all lost. Get some real info and grow up. These number are going to go through the roof and we are all going to suffer you selfish ignorant *****.

    2. Some maskers are political activists like the commish in Lincoln County that thinks hes a woman and put up the mask order. Seen HIS reasoning? Yeah……tell us again it’s not gay kate supporters that are bigoted

      They don’t care about anyone either…..except their emotions

    3. ….or perhaps it’s because cloth masks are only about 97% effective and come with some very real health detriments….

      There are some great studies out there to back that up, facts not fear…

      1. 97% efficacy is amazing, are you kidding? What is the health detriment to wearing mask when in the store for 30 minutes? Please, provide a link to a valid study. Now who is spreading fear?

          1. I read your study. Did you? It was testing the degree to which a cloth mask will protect the wearer from getting sick, which is not the damn point of wearing it! We wear them to not give the disease to the people around us if we are asymptomatic. Covid-19 has a super-power, which is that you’re contagious for several days before you show symptoms, and many people don’t show symptoms the whole time they’re infected/contagious. Knowing that, we wear masks to not spread the disease, just in case, because we want to be able to go to brewpubs and stuff like that again some day.
            Wasn’t that easy?
            Anything else I can help you with?

          2. how sad, you don’t even understand the things you reference to prove your point, which is completely wrong, and you don’t even know it – you are pathetic

    4. I’m not anti mask, but I’ve always thought that they should be mandatory in public(private opened to everyone)indoor places. I happily wear one where required by policy. I generally don’t if it’s not policy and others aren’t because I don’t feel I need to protect others that aren’t protecting me.

    5. We don’t need to care about a virus that is as deadly as the flu if you are under 65. Those 65 and older can take care of themselves and take their own precautions.

      1. You just don’t get it. Wearing a mask isn’t for your protection. It’s to protect those around you in case you have the virus but don’t know it because you have no symptoms. Wearing a mask shows you care as bout others. Or is asking you to give a cheap about others too much of an imposition on your personal liberty?

      2. Please speak for yourself. You’ve made it quite obvious that you choose not to care about anyone but yourself but hey, you’ll be old one day, too. Paybacks can be a really b**** because It happens really quick.

        1. Funny. Just on another thread you said “you can’t say the protesters are violent because a few rioters smash up the place.” (Paraphrased) But here you paint all republicans with the same brush. Your hypocrisy is showing.

    6. face hiders are the selfish ones, insisting everyone go along with your phobia so you don’t feel the fool. go hide your shame

    7. Since when did it become my responsibility to make sure everyone else is safe and protected? If it makes you feel better to wear a mask go ahead no judgement but you don’t get to force me to do it with your shaming.

      1. “Since when did it become my responsibility to make sure everyone else is safe and protected?”

        That question tells us a lot about your attitude toward your fellow man. Your mother must be very proud!

        1. My fellow man you mean the same people that have been calling me a racist or a Nazi for the last 4 years because I’m white and voted for Trump? Your right I don’t care one bit about anyone but MY FAMILY!! Have a nice day.

          1. Callous people ignore a problem until it hits home, even as 120,000 of their fellow citizens die. So good luck to you and better luck to your FAMILY.

    8. The fact of the matter is if store owners are that concerned they would make it mandatory for customers to wear a mask if entering their stores and yes they have the right to do so.
      The dirty little secret is the owners of the stores couldn’t give a hamster’s ass about their employees or customers health and yes even those trendy type stores owned by known leftist in this town and county. Heck one of the stores I’m talking about doesn’t have plexiglass barriers at the checkouts while customers roam freely without masks yet their employees are required to wear masks to give the illusion they care. Costco is the only store I’ve been to that requires masks to be worn by customers and it’s their right to require it the others won’t require the customers to wear masks as they see it as risk to profit by potentially inconveniencing customers.
      So if you think your local lefty grocery store owner cares for their customers and employees think again as it’s the almighty
      unimpeded profit that comes first, something the left always accuses the right of doing.

    1. I don’t believe you have been here long enough to call them Prinetucky. But you ignorance is showing through loud and clear. You should just move back to California.

    2. stereotyping people for the town they live in, is as ignorant and offensive as racism. you’re probably referring to the rebel flag, I doubt you’d recognize a confederate flag if it was waving in your face

    3. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the number of people wearing masks in Prineville when I happen to visit. On my many pointless trips back to the empty ammo counter in BiMart, I’ve witnessed more than half of the customers wearing face coverings, and none of them seemed to be in medical distress from it.

    1. Is that a real comment? Standard masks are about protecting others in case you are asymptomatic. This is a very simple practice and it a part of being the solution. Those that do not wear masks are the people that are driving us back into the outbreak. This is such a dumb and selfish thing.

      1. are we being driven backwards? Do we have a lot more deaths since the reopening and more contact with people? Just FYI everyone is going to contract civid 19 at some point. Show me a person that has never had the flu in their life.
        You can’t because its a virus and it will not be contained without very extreme measures. Just like the flu.

  1. Yes, ‘Red-Neck’ ignorance in full view. As someone who lives in Prinetucky, we have local restaurants who have ‘armed’ their cooks and dishwashers, and not a mask in sight (owners refuse to don a mask). ‘No one tells us how to run our business!’ How safe do you feel on our streets now? This is an example of the battle we are fighting (and losing).

    1. interesting you blame rednecks for the spike of corona when its your people that have been rioting in the streets by the thousands every single weekend. you people cant be honest about anything

  2. And still no request for customers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizers. And grocery employees and customers are still wearing their masks wrong, noses uncovered, fiddling with it, etc. Do people actually read what the CDC is recommending? All this emphasis on wearing a mask, nearly nothing on other measures that are known to help stop the spread of all diseases, including COVID-19. How about setting up hand washing stations at the door? Sportsman’s Warehouse actually did this months ago and it was great. I don’t know if it is still set up but it actually takes effort to find a way to clean your hands when entering and leaving a grocery store in Central Oregon. Everyone knows that if something takes effort at all, many people aren’t going to do it.

    1. Most of the transmission is through the air, so while hand washing stations are a great addition, the masks are crucial. They should be required at all stores. not sure why this one seems to be so hard for people to understand.

  3. NW Grocery Association….thank you for all you are doing through very real health crisis! Wearing masks clearly help and it is the right thing to do…. for the vulnerable young and old, for all the front line workers, including grocery employees, think about them!
    It’s the least we can do to help, and so easy.
    If you care about others, wear a mask.

  4. When too many store workers get sick, stores will close. It’ll be the same for teachers come fall so parents can expect to be home schooling their kids for a very long time. Businesses closing will have a domino effect on other businesses, and so on. With simple precautions so much harm could be avoided, and we can keep things open. Hoping Nomaskers get with the program soon.

    1. That is the single dumbest thing I have ever read. You don’t have to be sick to be an asymptomatic carrier. You could be getting everyone around you sick and not even know it. DO you really not know how this works by now? You seriously need a law to tell you what the right thing to do is? I hope this is a joke, but if not, you are.

          1. Hilarious coming from a supporter of the murderers and thugs of Antifa who compares Antifa to the founders of America. What’s that you said about the murder of David Dorn and Italia Kelly? Remind the classroom.

            1. Ooh! Scary Antifa that has no leadwr, no organization and no funding. Nothing more than a boogeyman made up by the right to perpetuate divisiveness and you bought the whole package.

              1. I guess they aren’t burning and breaking stuff. My bad. It was “mostly peaceful” protesters wearing Antifa shirts and waving Antifa flags doing it. Who pays for those cool flags with no funding? Who designed the cool logo? Who hosts their websites?

          2. What’s worse, not wearing a mask or the hatred exhibited for others who don’t think or feel the same way as you?

            My body, my choice. Sound familiar?

            1. Not the same situation and you are smart enough to figure out the difference, so why use it as a defense for blatant disregard for others? Just in case I give you credit for more intelligence than is due, “my body, my choice” pertains to effects on the person saying it. Wearing a mask has an effect on other people.

    2. either part of the problem or part of the solution, no question which siide of the equation are, time to ban your rear from public places

  5. As private businesses, they should just require them like Costco did. Protect their employees, customers, and help the economy recover by keeping a handle on Covid. We don’t want to be like Texas and Florida. Any business that requires them will get my business and will be appreciated!

  6. Golly. I remember when I had to walk both ways uphill, in the snow, on broken glass, back in old days when “experts” said don’t wear masks. Seems like just a few months ago.

    1. They made an error and hoarded them fro medical staff and essential service workers. Big fail. They do work and the science is behind it. In my mind it is pretty basic. If it is passed on by droplets, a mask will stop many if not all of the droplets from ones mouth. Seems pretty basic and can help save my elder neighbors, so I do it. I am not concerned about myself, but I act in the best interest of my community members and the nation. We are going to die hard if this thing continues to blow up.

  7. Any chance any of you “smart crowd” non Prineville people can quote the science behind you comments abouts mask effectiveness? Show me something besides an opinion.

        1. You read that, right? And now you are wearing a mask. Thank you for being unselfish.

          “We conclude that population-wide use of face masks could make an important contribution in delaying an influenza pandemic. Mask use also reduces the reproduction number, possibly even to levels sufficient for containing an influenza outbreak.”

  8. If wearing a mask is a small way I can help slow the spread and keep the economy open by not infecting for to one workers, I’ll gladly wear one even though I’m not ill. It’s the patriotic thing to do for my fellow Americans and my country.

    1. did you have an American flag blowing in the wind behind you when you wrote that and maybe and undertone of proud to be an American playing…lol

      1. Do you doubt the sincerity of Gold Star families too? Maybe you prefer your war heroes to be those not captured and tortured by the enemy? Do you scoff at the millions of Americans who salute the flag as it passes in a parade or who have a tear in their eyes when the anthem is played? I stand with them and all the veterans in my family. If you don’t have the same pride or concerns for your fellow humans, I’m sorry for you. Something essential was sorely missing from your obviously pitiful upbringing.

    1. I haven’t seen good evidence regarding the effectiveness of cloth masks for the uses being promoted, but note that the study you’re looking at (1) compared cloth masks to surgical masks (finding them less effective), but it didn’t compare cloth masks to no masks, and (2) looked at mask wearers’ likelihood of getting a disease, not giving it. Which is to say, I haven’t seen good evidence for the effectiveness of cloth masks, but this study shouldn’t be take as evidence against the effectiveness of cloth masks, either.

  9. It is disturbing to see the wanton ignorance by right wingers in these comments. You can only stay that ignorant with ongoing effort to trick yourself. History will not treat them well as they hamper the economy and schools from opening with their stubborn selfishness. While you want your “freedom to do” things, we want our “freedom from” the negative effects of your ignorant choices. Show a little responsibility and decency.

        1. No travel. Closed churches. Closed stores. Etc. and just like that. With a snap of the finger gone. Economy destroyed. You really think the government is going to give that up after seeing how easy it was.

    1. the economy didn’t have to be hampered. We could have just let it spread like the flu and we would be in a far better place financially. We wouldn’t have all this crazy wear a mask,don’t wear a mask fighting.then we could all focus on real problems like groups of people destroying government property that all taxpayers paid for and must pay to repair. Just my opinion.

        1. Give it a week or two. Or… maybe. the people rioting are young and healthy and don’t even know they get it. Wouldn’t that be a kick? All those peaceful rioters going home and giving it to granny? So selfish.

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