Starting This Week, Whole Foods Will Supply Free Face Masks for All Shoppers

updated May 5, 2020
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At each stage in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, grocery stores have been left much to their own resources to figure out what, exactly, constitutes safe conditions for their shoppers and their staffs. And one of the biggest questions right now is whether or not they should require their customers to wear face masks while shopping. Trader Joe’s has not mandated the use of face masks, whereas as of this past Monday, all Costco shoppers must wear a mask. In a blog post today, Whole Foods just announced that they are requesting all shoppers wear masks in their store as well.

To help their customers abide by this new request, all Whole Foods stores will provide masks for any customers who don’t have their own to wear. According to the blog post, this will start happening this week. Each of the company’s 500 stores will have face coverings available at the entrance. The disposable masks will be free to all customers. The parent company, Amazon, has said that it has more than 100 million masks, more than enough to cover their own operations and staff, as well as the stores. 

While Amazon says that they previously had been supplying masks to warehouse workers, this announcement came in tandem with them announcing masks as a requirement for employees there. The company says they are spending more than $800 million on safety measures to combat the pandemic in the first half of the year, including but not limited to masks, hand sanitizer, thermal cameras, thermometers, sanitizing wipes, gloves, additional handwashing stations, adding disinfectant spraying in buildings, procuring COVID testing supplies, and additional janitorial teams.

In the coming weeks, it’s likely that we will see a lot more companies and stores enacting similar mask measures. After all, the most important function of a mask isn’t protecting you from other people, but protecting other people from you — and for grocery stores, that means the more customers who wear masks, the safer their employees are.

If you want to buy one in advance of your next grocery store trip, see our guide here.