UFCW 1518 Calls on Dr. Bonnie Henry to Mandate Mask-Wearing in Grocery and Retail Stores

With COVID-19 cases continuing to climb to alarming levels, UFCW 1518 is taking action to protect grocery and retail workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Grocery and retail workers are bearing an unfair burden as they interact with high volumes of people in stores. Many retailers require employees to wear masks at work. Customers, however, are often not required to wear masks while they shop, increasing the risk of COVID-19 exposure to workers.

Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that there is an “expectation” that people wear a mask while shopping. Unfortunately, as correspondence from UFCW 1518 members makes clear, this expectation is not being met. Members have informed the union that they regularly have to interact with customers who are not wearing masks. These customers sometimes become belligerent when workers ask them to keep their distance.

“This is not acceptable,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “It’s time to pull out all the stops to protect workers from COVID-19 and bring transmission rates down.”

Last week, UFCW 1518 issued a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry asking for her to order everyone who enters a store to wear a mask.
UFCW 1518 is asking union members and members of the public to send a letter of support to Dr. Henry to ask that she issue a public order for mask-wearing while shopping.

If you are a grocery or retail worker and are concerned about customers not wearing masks, contact us at reception@ufcw1518.com or call 1.800.661.3708.