Effective May 11, Seward Community Co-op requires all employees to wear a face covering while on the sales floor. Late last week we were able to acquire a supply of disposable facemasks, clear plastic face shields and additional community-made cloth masks. We feel an incredible amount of gratitude to those who have made both masks and face shields for our employees. Having an adequate supply of personal protective equipment enables us to make this decision, which will create a safe environment for all who shop and work at our stores.
Over the last few weeks, we have had considerable discussion on this topic. We appreciate all of you who have shared your thoughts. We understand that not everyone has felt comfortable making the choice to wear a mask for a variety of complex reasons. In recent communications, we included examples of racial profiling of African American men and Asian Americans related to mask use. We have also heard feedback from staff and customers who have asthma, hearing loss or experience anxiety while wearing a mask because they are unable to breathe or hear. A number of our staff members have graciously shared their experience and perspective included below.
We have been carefully weighing these issues, which deeply affect the health and safety of our staff and wider community. We want everyone to feel safe wearing a face covering at Seward Co-op. Having multiple options we believe provides reasonable accommodation to those adversely impacted by masks.
We hope that shoppers will join employees in wearing face coverings while in our stores. To assist you with this, we will have a supply of disposable facemasks available at our customer service counters. Please ask for one if you forgot yours. We hope that you will join us in using the most effective practice possible to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Thank you.