Texas, Mississippi Lifting Mask Mandate, opposing retail group

  • The governors of Texas and Mississippi have announced that mask mandates will be lifted.
  • Retail group RILA opposes the move and calls it a “premature celebration of victory”.
  • Retail workers have had to enforce mask rules and risk dangerous confrontations over the past year.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott just announced the lifting of the state’s mask mandate through an executive order effective March 10. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also announced that state mask mandates would be lifted and businesses would be allowed to operate at full capacity beginning March 3. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has already opposed this decision, CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn reported.

RILA’s membership includes some of the largest retailers in the country, including Target, Walmart, Lowes, Walgreens and Dollar General.

“Relaxing common sense safety protocols like wearing masks is wrong. We certainly support governors who are reopening their economies and giving beleaguered restaurants and other small businesses the chance to rebuild and rehire workers,” said RILA’s Executive Vice President of Communications and State. Jason Brewer told Insider in an email. “But backtracking on safety measures will unfairly put retail workers back in the role of enforcing the guidelines still recommended by the CDC and other public health advocates. It could also compromise the safety of pharmacies and grocers preparing to become vaccination centers.

Several RILA members are also vaccine distribution sites, including CVS and Wegmans.

“Significant progress has been made in recent weeks to reduce the rate of COVID-19 infections and to vaccinate the elderly and other vulnerable populations. We must not jeopardize this progress with a premature celebration of victory,” he said. said Brewer.

Since the start of the pandemic, American retail workers have been tasked with enforcing mask policies. Employees have found themselves in the difficult position of not having official mask policies or not being allowed to ask customers to mask up.

Some customers have refused to wear masks for political reasons, and encounters have even turned violent, with workers shot or assaulted for asking customers to wear masks. Among stores that did not let employees enforce mask rules, spokespersons cited concerns for employee safety.

Texas has the most COVID-19 hotspots of any US state, with 10 counties reporting more than 100 cases per 100,000 population over the past week. Infection rate numbers were artificially low in late February when a severe storm ripped through much of the state, but the numbers are starting to rebound.


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