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Columbia Business Monthly

The Fresh Market Requires Face Coverings For All Customers Beginning April 14

Apr 12, 2020 05:39PM ● By David Dykes

By David Dykes

The Fresh Market, as a safety precaution and in accordance with guidance from health authorities, said it will require all customers to wear face coverings when shopping in its stores, starting Tuesday, April 14.

Company officials say they continue to place the safety of their employees and customers as the top priority, and have added new policies and protocols following guidance of The Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Food and Drug Administration and local public health authorities.

Examples include physical distancing guidance throughout the store, reserved hours for customers in higher-risk categories, contactless credit card checkout, limiting the number of store customers, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.

When the CDC updated its guidance to recommend people wear cloth face coverings when in public settings, The Fresh Market modified its policy to require all team members to wear a face mask or cloth face covering while working in the store, company officials said.   

While some state and city ordinances have made it mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings, The Fresh Market is taking the additional step to be consistent, proactive and better ensure the safety of everyone in its 159 store locations, the officials said.

"In order to help keep our communities safe, wearing face coverings is a necessary measure in public settings where physical separation is difficult," said James Ball, director of food safety and qualityaAssurance at The Fresh Market. "There is growing evidence that more individuals than previously thought may be carriers of coronavirus but do not show symptoms of the illness.

"Wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of the virus by asymptomatic individuals.  Since it is impossible to know who may be asymptomatic, it is prudent for everyone to wear a covering.  The goal is to reduce the virus transmission to keep everyone as safe as possible."  

The request to require customers to wear face coverings is in the same spirit as asking them to follow physical distancing guidance, Fresh Market officials said.

Stores will have signs outside about the new face covering policy and to remind customers to stay two carts (six feet) apart while shopping.  

Fresh Market's employees are following recommended handwashing guidance and washing their hands frequently, which can cause irritation, company officials said.

As a result, front-end employees are allowed to wear gloves as an additional layer of protection in between handwashings and have been instructed on how to properly wear and clean them, the officials said.      

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