One of the often unsaid concerns during the global pandemic is how are people who don’t wear virus masks to be approached by concerned customers in stores or by store management or by security officers patrolling the store. It is a very important question, as we’ve already seen several episodes of terrible violence unleashed by non-mask wearers upon fellow shoppers, managers or security people.
Mask wearing is, of course, the most important measure of covid-19 protection (outside of vaccination), both in not contracting the virus or transmitting it. All of our security guards wear masks and are well schooled in the science behind mask wearing.
The number one rule that we recommend for consumers and store personnel is: Don’t argue with anti-maskers. This is what the CDC recommends, and we follow this logic. People who don’t wear masks are making an emotionally charged statement that is often blended with very strong fundamentalist-type psychologies. They won’t be amenable to reason or logic. So, getting into even a first-step debate with them is not a good idea. They won’t listen, and if pushed too far could erupt into threats and violence. And, it’s good to remember that as an unmasked person increases their volume and vocal forcefulness they are spreading more droplets further that could be laden with covid-19.
Managers at big box stores have been given talking points for discussing mask wearing with anti-maskers, and are often offered complimentary masks. If they refuse to wear a mask they’re allowed to continue to shop. And generally, anti-maskers are kept at greater distances by other shoppers and store personnel.
Our security officers are trained in the same talking point, non-confrontational methods, and we work closely with company executives and management to sustain their covid-19 policies.