Dollar Tree, Family Dollar reverse face-covering mandate, making masks optional in stores


  • Photo via Corey Coyle/Wikimedia Commons

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar disclosed last week they are no longer requiring thrifty shoppers to wear masks in their stores, a move that runs contrary to the advice of public-health experts and anyone with some damn sense.

Employees and shoppers in areas with local mask mandates — including Orange and Seminole Counties — must still follow hometown rules and mask up. Everyone else in the state is left to decide on their own whether to save a buck while spit-talking droplets of saliva and, possibly, aerosolized coronavirus onto strangers' faces.

Dollar Tree Inc., owner of Family Dollar, had originally posted on July 8 that all shoppers, vendors and employees must wear cloth facial coverings, in an apparent effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Now, as major retail chains like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS begin requiring masks, Dollar Tree Inc. updated its mask policy on July 16 to merely "request" face coverings be worn in stores where state and local rules don't require them.

Considering Florida just registered more COVID-19 deaths than any other state, it's unlikely the stores based their reversal on their employees' health and safety. It is much more probable that customer complaints contributed to the change.

After all, a study released Monday showed 16 percent of people are actively boycotting places that don't require shoppers to wear masks, while 15 percent are boycotting places that do require patrons to wear face coverings.

Dollar Tree's website homepage barely mentions coronavirus, with a small link on the top-right, hidden among others.
Nationwide, 16 percent of people are actively boycotting retailers that don't require masks, while 15 percent are boycotting places that do require them. - SCREENSHOT VIA DOLLAR TREE
  • Screenshot via Dollar Tree
  • Nationwide, 16 percent of people are actively boycotting retailers that don't require masks, while 15 percent are boycotting places that do require them.

That link goes to to the store's coronavirus response page, which was amended to say: "We also request that our customers wear face coverings, and require face coverings where required by state or local ordinance."

The company says it is providing face masks to workers. Better make sure they're a tight fit, since the store plans to hire 25,000 new employees in these mask-optional environments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called mask-wearing "critical" in gaining control over the pandemic. On Monday, following intense public backlash to their initial mask-optional policy, Winn-Dixie changed its store rules to now require face masks.

Considering how ubiquitous Dollar Tree and Family Dollar Stores are in Central Florida, it's a good thing we have local rules to keep the spit where it belongs.

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