Many retail stores in Triangle require workers to wear masks, but not shoppers

Local News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As things change regarding mask usage in retail stores, CBS 17 wanted to find out what major retailers are requiring as of Monday.

With Wake County considered a hot spot for covid once again, many retailers are revising their mask policies, but in many cases, it’s just for employees, not customers.

David Christopherson is fully vaccinated. He bristles at mask use in stores now.

“I don’t want to wear one anymore,” he said. “I was vaccinated and there’s a reason for that.”

But as CDC guidance changes, so do retailer rules about masks.

CBS 17 emailed 15 of the major chains doing business in the area to find out what their mask policies are now.

Many were grocery stores, but there were also big retailers like Walmart, Target and both Crabtree Valley Mall and Triangle Town Center mall.

Many didn’t reply, but five did.

Walmart says it’s requiring masks for all employees, but only recommending masks for customers.

Lowes Foods says all employees must be masked, but customer masks are voluntary.

Publix says only unvaccinated workers will be required to mask. It asks that customers also mask, but it’s not required.

Home Depot says not only its workers, but contractors and vendors must mask. The store is asking customers to mask and will provide masks at the door.

Lowe’s Home improvement says workers are required to wear masks indoors at a store as well as while working in a customer’s home or business – regardless of vaccination status. Customers’ mask use is voluntary, and it also provides free masks at the door.

The mask policies puzzle some.

“I’m not sure of the logic,” said Bobby Kenyon of Raleigh.

“I think it’s kind of unfair to employees if customers don’t have to wear masks,” said Holly Wright. “It’s kind of counter-intuitive in my opinion.”

Others say if a store were to require customer masks again, they’d have to think about it going there.

“They can require whatever and I have the choice to be in there or not,” said Dan Reikher.

Margaret Carrai says if a retail establishment she frequents requires a mask again, she’d be frustrated by the policy.

“I would go in, but wouldn’t be happy about it,” she said. “If you have the vaccine you don’t need to wear a mask.”

Several people CBS 17 spoke with believe the whole mask issue has become so politized that many retailers are afraid to go back to mandatory customer masks for fear of losing business.

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