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Grocery Store Workers Are Increasingly Angry at Customers for This One Reason

Please, just wear a face mask.
Woman shopping at supermarket

Whether or not you have to wear a mask or face covering in public depends on what state (and in some cases, what county) you're in. But even if they're not required by law, private businesses, like Costco, can require customers to wear masks while shopping. For many businesses, though, there's a gray area for shoppers—and it's causing major tension between customers and employees.

While many major businesses are requiring employees to wear masks, not all of them are asking the same of customers. Plus, even in states where mandatory mask laws are in effect, not all customers will comply—and many of them have been caught on camera yelling at employees when asked to do so.

One report from Portland's KGW notes that while seven Oregon counties now require face masks to be worn in public spaces, some customers are still trying to skirt the rules (and not facing any repercussions from law enforcement).

"We're pretty frustrated about where things are, and there is no reason to pretend that we're not," Dan Clay, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 union in Oregon, told KGW. "My members feel like they're being called 'essential employees' but are being treated like they're disposable employees."

Essential workers across the country have shared similar frustrations, in real life and on social media. Many of them are taking public transit to get to and from work, risking their own health in the process—only to be yelled at by irate customers in return.

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Why should you wear a face mask?

Covering your mouth and nose can help prevent the spread of coronavirus. And wearing a mask will help other people more than it will help you—even if you don't feel sick, you could be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.

Yes, wearing a mask at the store isn't the most comfortable feeling. But you'll be able to breathe easier knowing that you aren't putting employees and other customers at risk. Essential workers aren't able to observe self-quarantine, and wearing a face mask to protect them is a small price to pay. And for more ways to stay safe, steer clear of The One Place You Should Never Go, According to Dr. Fauci.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more