INDIANAPOLIS — Aldi will join the growing number of grocery and retail chains that require customers to wear masks.
Face coverings will be mandatory in all Aldi stores beginning July 27, according to a news release from the company. Aldi has more than two dozen stores in Central Indiana.
"Our new face covering policy is an enhanced safety measure intended to help limit the spread of COVID-19," the news release said. "All ALDI employees will continue to wear face coverings, as they have for months."
Aldi's news release said customers who are unable or unwilling to wear a face covering should shop online for grocery delivery or use curbside grocery pickup.
The past week represented a turning point in terms of companies announcing mandatory face-covering orders as many of the nation's largest grocery and retail chains, including Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Sam's Club, CVS, Kohl's and Target, announced new policies in recent days.
The orders came the same week the National Retail Federation, the industry's largest trade association, called on retailers across the country to establish a nationwide mask policy in their stores.
"Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus," a statement from the National Retail Federation said. "Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk."
Two Indianapolis-based restaurant groups, Cunnigham Restaurant Group and Huse Culinary, also announced they will require customers to wear masks beginning Monday. CRG is known for popular eateries such as Bru Burger and Livery, while Huse Culinary is the parent company of St. Elmo Steak House and Harry & Izzy's.
Several counties and cities in Indiana, including Marion County, also require masks to be worn in public indoor settings and outdoors where social distancing is not possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19 as the virus can be spread by people who don't show symptoms and don't know they are infected.
More than 140,000 Americans are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, and 3.7 million more have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus dashboard.
Read the full statement from the National Retail Federation below:
The health and safety of associates and customers is retailers' number one priority and wearing a face covering or mask is scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. NRF applauds the leadership of companies like Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others that have implemented nationwide mask mandates.
We hope today’s announcement by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – that it will be enforcing a policy requiring customers to wear a mask to shop in their stores is a tipping point in this public health debate. Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers of all sizes have been on the front lines safely serving customers and supporting their communities. Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk.
As noted in a letter we co-signed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and other industry groups that was sent to President Trump, Vice President Pence and governors across the country two weeks ago, it is critically important that we have a national mask standard implemented locally. Retailers are protecting the health and safety of communities they serve. Our elected leaders need to set politics aside and follow their example.
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