TAMPA, Fla. - Winn-Dixie will not be joining other large retailers by requiring masks in its stores.
The supermarket chain's website says it is strongly encouraging its employees and associates to wear face coverings. However, Winn-Dixie's parent company, Southeastern Grocers, will not mandate masks because it does not want to "cause undue friction between our customers and associates by regulating mask mandates," director of corporate communications Joe Caldwell told FOX 13 News.
"We are adhering to all local safety mandates within each of our stores and strongly encouraging those who are medically able to wear a face covering to do so," Caldwell said, adding that the company would strongly encourage state government officials to "lead the way" in creating such mandates.
Publix, Winn-Dixie's main competitor in Florida, announced it would require face coverings beginning July 21. Other national retailers such as Walmart, Target and CVS are also mandating masks in their stores.
"We are always listening to our communities, and as the number of COVID cases rise, we are actively evaluating our policies so that every reasonable precaution is made to protect the health and safety of our people and our customers," Caldwell added.