Wear Your MasksBy Tom Dougherty
Wear your masks: It’s fast becoming the (required) new normal
In thinking about what the world will be like in the post COVID-19 era (or at least, the adaption to it), I think I’ve witnessed the future at a grocery store. It includes masks, directional traffic and lots of anti-bacterial lotion.
It was at a regional chain, Fresh Market, but it won’t be the only one. Beginning today, Costco is instituting new rules, including all shoppers (or members, as Costco calls them) required to wear masks. It’s limiting the number of shoppers into its warehouses, including no more than two people per member. (No family shopping.)
That’s not so far from what Fresh Market establishes. It also requires shoppers to wear masks and sports a capacity limit. I found its directional traffic lanes fascinating because they actually made things more efficient. The butcher area, normally a free-for-all, was entirely blocked off except for one lane to enter with the floor marked by social distancing rules.
With Costco, the 15th ranked grocery in the US, implementing new rules, more are sure to follow. Get used to wearing masks wherever you go.
“When I see consumers not wearing masks, like during a recent visit to Home Depot, I’m genuinely surprised. Are people just not able to get them or are they just insensitive to this novel coronavirus?”
Wearing masks becoming a requirement
Now, most people are wearing masks in public spaces. But not all. In fact, I’m evolving into a bit of a mask cop. When I see consumers not wearing masks, like during a recent visit to Home Depot, I’m genuinely surprised. Are people just not able to get them or are they just insensitive to this novel coronavirus?
Shame on them if it’s the latter. But soon they won’t have any choice. As states tip-toe into opening their economies, wearing masks is sure to be one of the requirements. What happens when Costco’s most direct competitor, Sam’s Club, does the same? Will that lead to its parent company, Walmart, enforcing the same rules?
If Walmart, which does count incoming and outgoing shoppers right now, forces shoppers to sport face coverings, then the relative future is set.
The re-opening of the local economies makes me conflicted. Like most of us, I yearn for a return to normalcy and an improving economy. But I don’t want the pandemic becoming worse with a second wave.
Therefore, there must be a middle ground. A new normal with guidelines. So, people, wear your masks.
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