In response to Mike Rapier’s letter “‘COVID Police’ Don’t Really Care About Community” [July 22, Xpress]: Mike, please read Mindy Brennan’s letter about her father dying of COVID-19 alone because family and friends weren’t allowed to visit him, in an effort to prevent the spread of infection [“My Father Died Alone,” June 22, Xpress]. It might shine a light for you. …
And in response to Mindy: I, too, am appalled at what I’m finding at Ingles supermarkets, even after they “changed” their policy to “require” facial coverings. I’ve put those words in quotes because their change appears to consist of zero enforcement beyond posting an unobtrusive sign at their stores’ entrances.
On July 25, I counted nine people without masks at the Ingles on Leicester Highway at a slow time when I saw fewer customers than staff. A couple of days earlier, my husband counted 27 people without masks in under half an hour inside the Ingles in Marshall.
Ingles corporate management apparently doesn’t value the health and safety of its customers and workers enough to actually enforce facial covering in their stores. Shame on them.
At this point, even big-box stores like Walmart, as well as a wide range of small, local businesses, are ensuring that all customers and staff wear masks. There’s no need for anyone to risk their health and safety at retail stores that refuse to implement this very simple and effective measure to hamper contagion.
If any store where you’ve been a regular shopper refuses to enforce facial covering, please take the time to talk to its manager, say that you won’t be coming back, explain why — and if the manager isn’t the owner, write to corporate management.
We’ve got plenty of better alternatives. Let’s give them our business and let stores that don’t require masks know why we won’t be coming back.
— Tricia Shapiro
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Ingles CFO Ron Freeman with a summary of the letter writer’s points relating to the company, and we received the following response: “Thanks for your comments. We want all our customers and associates to wear masks. Masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will help all of us return to conditions before the pandemic. Our stores have masks available to help customers voluntarily comply with mask requirements. There are medical exceptions to mask requirements. We are providing management inquiries, in-store announcements, enhanced awareness signing, plexy shields at point-of-sale contact, one-way aisles and extra hours for cleaning to provide a safe shopping experience.”
Also, CNN reported July 26 that Walmart, despite its new rules requiring masks, will continue to serve customers who aren’t wearing them.