We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it develops. As always, our priority is your safety and your family’s health.
Back in early April, StrasGlobal mandated that all customers had to wear a mask in our stores. The reason we set up this policy is because many customers do not seem to understand that wearing a mask is about helping others. The mask’s main protection is not for the wearer but for the people that they meet. Unless they have recently been tested, no one knows whether they are infected or not and they can pass the virus on to others before they are showing symptoms and, possibly, if they are asymptomatic (meaning the person is sick but never shows the symptoms).
However, the feedback we had from many of you is that making a customer wear a mask is difficult, tiring, and frustrating – and we realize that your role should not be to enforce this policy with our customers. Besides being abusive, some customers were also leaving the store without making a purchase – which affects our client’s business. Furthermore, making the temporary paper towel masks to give to customers was time consuming and the masks were not well received as they would tear, etc.
So with the states opening up and restrictions being relaxed we decided to review this mandate. In order to make an informed decision, we sent a survey out to all of our stores two weeks ago asking about how many customers wear masks, how many don’t, and how safe you feel. We then analyzed the daily number of confirmed new COVID-19 cases for each county where our stores are located and also took into account the store’s location (urban/rural) and the size of the population in that county.
The bad news is that many of our customers don’t want to wear a mask and some get angry about it. The good news is that in all of the counties where our stores are located the number of cases is either trending flat or downward or the number of cases is very low compared to the population of the county.
Therefore, we have decided to implement a new policy regarding face masks:
- Masks are still required to be properly worn (covering the nose and mouth) by all team members at all times while they are in the store.
- It is particularly critical you wear a mask now that more customers may not be wearing one.
- Stores will follow all local or state requirements regarding customers wearing masks. Where customer masks are not required by local law, we will implement a “strongly requested” mask policy for customers:
- New signs on the door and gas pumps saying “Keep us safe – Please wear a mask in the store” will be sent to the stores.
- We will implement a “one ask” policy for all store team members. The store team member is required to ask a customer, once, to wear a mask while in the store. No further follow up is required. It is up to the team to decide how much they want to press the issue. However, no customer will be refused entry into the store or service for not wearing a mask (unless mandated by law).
- We will no longer provide temporary masks for customers.
To summarize, we will no longer require customers to wear a mask in the store unless it is required by local law. At the moment, this applies only to the stores in New York and New Jersey. If you have any questions, please contact your District Manager.
However, while many states are relaxing their stay-at-home restrictions, COVID-19 cases are starting to rise again around the country. Therefore, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 statistics in each county and we will make decisions on a county-by-county basis. If we decide that the county situation has become significantly worse and cases are trending upward, we will mandate that customers wear masks to keep you safe.
Please continue to follow the proper health procedures: wash your hands, clean your working surfaces, don’t touch your face, keep social distancing, and serve your customers from behind the plexiglass shield. We want you to be safe and to stay well and we can only make this happen with your help.
If you have any concerns or questions about this policy please contact me by replying directly to this email or make a comment in the twice weekly store morale survey – which our management team and I read – so that we can address them.