Winn-Dixie reverses stance on masks following Trump tweet

Final 7 days, Winn-Dixie reported it would not require consumers to don masks in its suppliers, even following its rivals introduced that they would. But the southern grocery chain changed its head only a few hours immediately after President Donald Trump tweeted that “it is patriotic to dress in a confront mask.”

“Beginning Monday, July 27, we will be demanding masks to be worn by shoppers to support lower the spread of [Covid-19],” Joe Caldwell, the director of company communications and federal government affairs for Southeastern Grocers — Winn-Dixie’s father or mother company — said in a statement, incorporating that the firm thinks wearing masks in stores really should be mandated by the regulation.

In an email to CNN Enterprise, Caldwell denied the modify in policy experienced to do with the president’s tweet.

The organization “genuinely listen[s] to our buyers, associates and communities. It was their responses, blended with our want to impress on our buyers how significantly we consider their security and the protection of our associates, that affected this change,” he wrote in an inital e mail. “We know masks enjoy an critical position in halting the distribute of this virus, and we up-to-date our coverage to replicate that.”

Questioned by CNN Business to confirm the president’s tweet experienced no bearing on the selection, Caldwell responded in an additional e-mail repeating that the organization “made [our] decision primarily based on opinions and the desire to impress on everybody the protection of masks.”

Winn-Dixie operates extra than 500 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi — all states that Donald Trump won in the 2016 election.

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Late very last 7 days, Kroger (KR), Kohl’s (KSS), CVS (CVS), Focus on (TGT), and Walmart (WMT) all declared they would demand prospects to use masks in each individual US area. And the Nationwide Retail Federation, the industry’s most significant lobbying group, also named on organizations to need masks in their retailers.
But very last weekend, Caldwell named masks a “extremely charged concern” in an e mail to the Washington Publish, all over the exact time that Florida — wherever the the vast majority of Southeastern Grocers merchants are located — claimed extra than 12,000 further cases of Covid-19.

“We do not want to place our associates in a place to navigate interpersonal conflict or prohibit shoppers from browsing in our outlets,” Caldwell reported.

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