Exemptions, enforcement and business reaction to the news that coverings will be compulsory from 24 JulyCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageWith the government set to announce that wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets will be mandatory in England from 24 July, here’s what you need to know about the new rules: Continue reading...
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UK study claims solidarity in early weeks of coronavirus pandemic has given way to distrustCoronavirus –...UK study claims solidarity in early weeks of coronavirus pandemic has given way to distrustCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMask-wearing and lockdown rules are now causing deeper social fractures than Brexit, according to a UK-wide study which suggests that the solidarityof the early weeks of the pandemic has given way to distrust.Polling of 10,000 people found that half of mask-wearers in Britain (58%) have severely negative attitudes towards those who do not wear a mask, and the majority (68%) of people who did not break lockdown rules have strong negative views about lockdown rule-breakers. Continue reading...
Australian state of Victoria records 19 deaths; US cases pass 5m; UK daily infections pass 1,000...Australian state of Victoria records 19 deaths; US cases pass 5m; UK daily infections pass 1,000 for first time since June. Follow the latest updatesGlobal infections near 20mGreece sees highest daily case riseUS passes 5m Covid-19 cases as Joe Biden says pandemic ‘breaks heart’Brazil scientist’s despair as coronavirus deaths hit 100,000See all our coronavirus coverage 2.22am BST Victoria launches new testing programme for vulnerable people in the state – those who have limited mobility, for example, or chronic health conditions. Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos explains: We are starting a call-to-test program that will enable someone to call our coronavirus hotline, they’ll be assessed by a nurse through that hotline and, with a GP referral, we will go to them. We will go to people’s homes and we will ensure that they will be able to be tested within a 48-hour period. 2.14am BST Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on the relatively low case numbers reported today: I know there’ll be questions whether the relative low number today marks any point of significance. Just in advance of that, I understand where those questions come from, but I think we all got to be careful not to begetting ahead of ourselves. We have one day’s data. It’s always be better to be lower than the previous day, but it is only one day’s data and the stage 4 changes, many of which only came into effect at midnight last night, a number of others which came into effect midnight Wednesday last week, the oldest of these being the curfew, that had been in place for one week yesterday as of 8:00pm yesterday. So it is still very early for us to be trying to measure the impacts of stage 4, but we’re certainly seeing perhaps some greater stability that is a result of the cumulative impact of stage 3. I think yesterday or the day before we shared with you what our experts tell us would have been the case, many tens of thousands of cases if we had not gone to stage 3and masks and the other settings we put in place. So that has achieved a lot. It just hasn’t achieved as much as we needed to. Continue reading...
Walmart won't enforce its own rules on mask-wearing because it fears staff could be attacked by shoppers angry at being challenged
People who refuse to wear a face mask will be served in Walmart — and many...People who refuse to wear a face mask will be served in Walmart — and many other stores — despite it having imposed new mask rules, according to a CNN report. On July 20, Walmart began requiring masks to be worn in all its stores, as coronavirus cases spike again in many parts of the US. However, to avoid a "physical confrontation," staff have been instructed to serve people who refuse to wear one anyway, Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia told Business Insider. Home Depot, Lowe's, CVS, and Walgreens will also serve people refusing to wear them, according to CNN. Mask acceptance is increasing, but there have been several incidents of violence in stores and towards staff members from customers who object to mask rules. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Shoppers who refuse to wear a face mask to visit Walmart will still be served, as the company seeks to protect its staff from "a physical confrontation," according to a CNN report. Walmart had announced that as of July 20, face masks would be compulsory for all but those whose medical conditions prevent it, as Business Insider's Hayley Peterson reported. At least 27 other retailers have recently required the same thing. However, a training video seen by CNN tells management to let people who refuse to wear a mask "continue to shop." Home Depot, Lowe's, CVS, and Walgreens have also said they'll serve customers without masks, CNN reported. Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said in a statement to Business Insider: "We know there may be situations that may not make it possible for everyone to wear a face covering." In those situations, "we will allow them to shop in our stores and clubs," she said. "Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation situation, and our ambassadors will be trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper," she added. Not enforcing masks makes it a "public relations stunt," according to one critic Walmart first announced its mask rule with a blog post explaining how it trained special "health ambassadors" whose job it is to stand at the store entrance and "remind those without a mask of our new requirements." The company said that it that ambassadors would seek solutions when people refuse and recognize that some cannot wear masks on health grounds. But the health ambassadors are told in a training video not to impede customers who refuse physically. Instead, they inform a manager, "so they can determine the next steps," according to CNN. The company does not rule out involving law enforcement, however. A Walmart spokesperson told CNN: "While we do try to find solutions for customers who are not wearing face coverings, from time to time, we do need to call police for assistance in those areas." Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, criticized the lack of firmer enforcement. He told CNN that if companies "are not requiring customers to wear a mask within their store, then they never had a requirement. All they had was a public relations stunt." Walmart did not offer Business Insider a comment on the criticism, and did not respond to inquiries about asking security staff to enforce the rule Masks are increasingly accepted — but it's still tough for retail workers A Gallup poll released on July 6 showed that mask-wearing had become increasingly accepted in the US, with 85% of people saying they had worn one. Only 11% say they have not considered it. In their stores, Garcia, Walmart's spokeswoman, emphasized that "virtually everyone either brings a mask or readily complies with the requirement." However, retail staff have borne the brunt of numerous violent outbursts from some customers who refuse. Viral videos have shown anti-mask shoppers having outbursts over the issue. In early July, one woman was filmed destroying a mask display in an Arizona Target, while another customer in an Oregon Costco sat on the floor and refused to leave in an anti-mask protest. The issue has led to injuries — in late June, a 19-year-old McDonald's worker in California was physically attacked and racially abused by a customer who had been asked to put on a mask, as Business Insider's Kate Taylor reported. CBS Los Angeles reported that the employee confronted the man on July 15 at Ralphs's grocery store in Central Los Angeles and told the man he had to wear a face-covering or leave the establishment, a guideline required by Los Angeles County. The man rammed the employee with a shopping cart, and in response "she pepper-sprayed him and called the police," according to the report. In its blog post, Walmart said that around 65% of its 5,000 stores are in areas where there is already a statewide mask mandate. But the Retail Industry Leaders Association, of which Walmart is a member, wrote to governors on July 6 to ask for it to be imposed consistently across 50 states, CNN reported. Join the conversation about this story »