Can H-E-B grocery stores actually enforce a store-only mask mandate?
Much of the world was caught off guard last week when multiple U.S. states, specifically Texas & Mississippi, announced that they would not only be removing the mandatory mask mandates across the state but were also allowing full-capacity once again at indoor gathering spaces. While COVID-19 related deaths & cases seem to be going down across the country, it’s apparent that a move like this might be a little too soon.
COVID-19, which reportedly first arrived in the U.S. sometime during the 2020 Winter season, spiraled not only the country but the entire world into a global pandemic. Almost immediately, we were told by health officials that the safest way to protect ourselves as well as to minimize the spread of the virus was to do two things: wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
Today, we’ve learned that even with Texas removing most of its safety restrictions that pockets of certain communities are still worried about the safety of themselves and of others. Specifically, workers at one supermarket chain in Texas are rallying to their employers to enforce a mask policy inside of their stores. Workers & members of the community will make calls to its corporate leaders this entire week. Care to learn more?
H-E-B worked ain’t gonna take it
A group of H-E-B Grocery workers, as well as other community members with COVID-19 related concerns, have started a Facebook event page called “Call on Corporate” in an effort to streamline their cause. Their overall aim is for the company to enforce their “mask recommendation” and make it a requirement, given the current global pandemic.
Earlier this past week, the H-E-B grocery chain put out a statement that they would continue to require customers to wear face masks in their stores. However, this group of workers has concerns that the requirement will not be enforced, leaving some of the more vulnerable workers in danger of contracting the novel coronavirus.
One H-E-B grocery cashier gave a statement in the group’s news release, sharing the following sentiment: “Being a cashier at H‑E‑B since day one of the pandemic, I have seen firsthand the consequences of this virus. We ask for support and solidarity from organizers, the community, and our company as we attempt to make it out of this pandemic alive.”
What is H-E-B Grocery Company?
H-E-B is a privately held supermarket chain, located in San Antonio, Texas, that was founded all the way back in 1905. This chain has more than 340 stores throughout the state of Texas, as well as parts of Mexico. As of 2017, this supermarket chain has a total revenue of $25 billion, and even ranked #12 on Forbes’ 2019 list of “America’s Largest Private Companies”.
In fact, based on revenues, H-E-B Grocery is in the top twenty of largest retailers in the U.S., donating up to 5% of its annual pre-tax profits to charity. One fun fact that many don’t know is that this company also operates the popular Central Market, a more upscale organic and fine foods retailer. It’s also the go-to spot to sink your teeth into some True Texas BBQ, which is located in many of the H-E-B grocery locations.
It certainly sounds like this supermarket chain has a large enough platform to promote public health, even with Texas’ insane pullback on public health practices in the middle of a global pandemic. It’ll be interesting to see how this story plays out in the upcoming weeks.
What are your thoughts on this ongoing story? Do you think the efforts of this Facebook group will ultimately propel H-E-B to enforce masks inside their stores? Is there still a mask mandate where you live? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.