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Violence, verbal abuse spiking in stores mandating masks, state retail group says

Growing list of retailers requiring face masks for customers

Don’t take your frustration out on an employee -- that’s the message from the president of Florida’s Retail Association;

The organization has seen a spike in the number of violent confrontations and verbal abuse in stores mandating face coverings.

“It’s not that frontline retail employee who is in a position of having to request that you put the mask on. They didn’t create the local ordinance. They didn’t create the statewide mandate. They didn’t even create the corporate policies, so let’s take a deep breath if we will,” said Scott Shalley, president of Florida’s Retail Association, who joined us Friday on The Morning Show.

More Stores are Requiring Masks
More Stores are Requiring Masks

There have been a spate of confrontations across the country, including an incident in South Florida, inside a Walmart store, where a customer, who was not wearing a face covering, pulled a gun during a tense exchange with other customers who were wearing masks.

Shalley said the reason retails are requiring masks is simple.

“I think it’s been imminently clear from most health experts through Florida and the country that wearing a mask makes a difference, and it’s going to slow the spread,” he said. “Our retailers, as much as they want to see good traffic -- want to be open -- they also really, really, want to protect their employees.”

As it stands right now, Publix, Best Buy, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Winn Dixie and Trader Joe’s all require customers to wear face coverings. Target’s policy starts Aug. 1.

While there are mask exemptions for people with disabilities, it does not mean you can enter a store without a mask. The business should instead offer you an opportunity to pick up your items curbside or have them delivered.


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