EL DORADO, Ark. (03/24/20) — Masks or no masks? Gloves or no gloves? These are questions some in the ArkLaMiss are asking about grocery and retail workers.
Such employees are on the front line of the the fight, stocking shelves, checking you out and some even taking items to your car. How exactly are they supposed to keep from contracting on spreading COVID-19?
“I don’t know what we could do as far as them protecting themselves from others and others protecting themselves from them,” Kyra Dismuke said.
Popular grocery stores like Brookshire’s and Wal Mart are encouraging their employees to sanitize and wash their hands frequently. They say they are following Centers for Disease Control Guidelines and are not requiring their employees to wear protective gear.
“We have taken the position that our employees are allowed to wear the surgical masks or gloves at their discretion,” Vice President and Chief People & Legal Officer at Brookshire Grocery Company, Rosemary Jones said.
The CDC also issued a statement regarding wearing masks and gloves:
“For most people in the United States, including most types of workers, the risk of infection with COVID-19 is currently low. CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask to protect against respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. A facemask should, however, be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms of the virus. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of N-95 facemasks is crucial for health workers.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Dismuke says it doesn’t bother her if a worker wears gloves or not because germs can also be spread to other customers and items.
She’s never been fearful of an employee that may decide to wear a facemask or gloves though fully understands their decision to protect themselves.
“I don’t see the purpose of the gloves because you’re touching the gloves. You’re touching the cash register and you’re just cross contaminating,” she said. “Gloves are made to be used for one particular thing.”
That’s why she takes her own precautions when shopping in the store.
“If I’m picking up something, I’m picking up one thing,” she said. “I’m going to the checkout line and soon as I get home everything is being sprayed down. I’m being sprayed down.”
Health experts recommend people go to the store when it’s not crowded, wipe your grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe, distance yourself from other shoppers and disinfect groceries when you get home.