Wegmans won’t hassle you for not wearing a mask (Opinion)
Wegmans in Manalapan, and seemingly several other locations, has a point. And it shares the same philosophy that a lot of other retail establishments in New Jersey do. It’s not their job to police the mask-wearing mandate. And it gets sticky if they try to.
A lot of retail stores in New Jersey have decided that it should not be their employees' job to tell the customers to put masks on. First of all, many of their employees are just young kids who would not feel comfortable confronting older people, which is completely understandable. Plus, with such a contentious issue, you’re just setting your employees up for verbal, if not physical altercations on the job.
My local home-improvement store had the same idea. When I went in without a mask because of a facial surgery I had had, many employees saw me but no one said anything. When I questioned them about it afterward, they said that they are prohibited from policing customers.
"Don’t worry. The customers police each other!" was the answer that I got when I asked.
When she was asked why Wegmans doesn’t badger their customers about the mask issue, Deana Percassi, director of Public Relations for Wegmans gave a great answer. According to 13WHAM.com in Rochester County, New York, she said that the executive orders for masks in stores specifically states that if a mask would inhibit or impair someone’s health, then they’re not required to wear one.
This carveout would require employees to question each and every non-mask wearing customer about their medical or health issues. This is a slippery slope and also a privacy issue. The article goes on to say that Wegmans does do what they can to educate their customers and tell them that masks are required by executive order, but they are not going to go to the lengths of refusing entry. Nor are they allowed, per company policy, to question what health or medical condition someone may have.
So Wegmans is being sensible and logical. If you disagree with their policy, there’s an easy way to let them know. You can simply take your business elsewhere. But you can also rest assured that if you do choose to shop there, and there is a legitimate medical reason that will preclude you from wearing a mask, you won’t be harassed by Wegmans employees.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.