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Whole Foods Will Give You a Free Face Mask Starting Next Week

National chain is the first to provide masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
woman grocery shopping with mask

In an effort to keep both shoppers and staffers safe from the deadly COVID-19 contagion, Whole Foods announced that they will be providing all customers free, disposable masks when they arrive at their store to shop starting next week. If customers don't already have their own face covering, they will be able to pick up a mask at the entrance of the Whole Foods Market store.

Grocery shopping in the time of the coronavirus has gone from a weekly ritual of pleasured procurement to one of stressful social distancing and avoidance of anything that might, in any way, come with COVID-19. In some ways, supermarkets have become the one essential and very public place that we all still go to during this national lockdown.

As a result, grocery store workers on the front lines are putting themselves at a much greater risk of contracting the coronavirus. Dozens of grocery store workers have already succumbed to the deadly contagion, which has led to at least one wrongful death lawsuit. Keeping staffers, and shoppers, safe is the reason behind requiring shoppers to wear facial coverings or disposable masks.

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Whole Foods, which was acquired by online retail giant Amazon in 2017, is the first national outlet to provide free masks to keep shoppers safe.  Earlier in the week, Amazon/Whole Foods announced that they had provided "over 100 million masks to our global Amazon operations network and Whole Foods Market stores," adding that they would be making them available to "all Amazon associates, delivery service partners, Amazon Flex participants, seasonal employees, and Whole Foods Market Team Members."

Read the full statement from Amazon/Whole Foods below:

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To help protect the safety and health of our Team Members and communities, we will be requesting customers wear masks in Whole Foods Market stores. Within the next week, we will be offering free, disposable masks to all Whole Foods Market customers nationwide when they arrive at the store to shop. If customers don't already have their own face covering, they will be able to pick up a mask at the entrance of the Whole Foods Market store.

Earlier this week we announced we've provided over 100 million masks to our global Amazon operations network and Whole Foods Market stores, making them available to all Amazon associates, delivery service partners, Amazon Flex participants, seasonal employees, and Whole Foods Market Team Members. We have enough mask inventory to cover our entire operations and stores network, and we are requiring everyone working in our facilities to take and use them.

Through the measures we worked rapidly to implement, we expect to invest more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures through purchasing items like masks, hand sanitizer, thermal cameras, thermometers, sanitizing wipes, gloves, additional handwashing stations, and adding disinfectant spraying in buildings, procuring COVID testing supplies, additional janitorial teams, and more. In the second quarter of 2020, Amazon expects to invest approximately $4 billion on COVID-related expenses to get products to customers and keeping employees safe.

We will keep evaluating how to best support our teams and communities, and will continue rolling out measures to protect the health and safety of every person helping customers get what they need during this difficult time. Taking care of our employees as they step up for their communities will remain Amazon's number-one priority.

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.

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