Kroger workers After a shift by the CDC, employers withdrew mask policies that workers felt protected them from unvaccinated customers. The Kroger supermarket is located in Yorktown, Virginia in a county where mask-wearing can be casual at best. But for months, the store urged its customers to cover their noses and mouths, and nearly everyone complied.
Many of the Kroger workers were upset back in mask requirements days they had to ask everyone to cover their nose and face. One of the employees stated that “People don’t like to wear masks here, but very few people will go without them,” said Janet Wainwright, Kroger worker.
That changed in mid-May after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised vaccinated Americans that they could remain without masks in most enclosed spaces. The following week, the store told employees that they could no longer require customers to cover their faces. So mask use has fallen, and Ms. Wainwright and other staff members are worried. “We feel like we’re sitting ducks,” said Ms. Wainwright, who estimated that well under half of herders wore masks on a Sunday. “Now it’s just a free program for everyone.”
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Many of the Kroger employee said that instructions for making masks optional for vaccinated clients. Some, such as Ms. Wainwright, said they had been vaccinated but were concerned. That they were still getting sick or infecting family members. Who had not or could not have been vaccinated? Others said they had not yet received a vaccination.
Public health experts say that people who are fully vaccinated have a very low risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19. Also, vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus to others. Cases in general have decreased significantly in recent weeks, and vaccines are widely available.
In mixed and conservative areas, workers said, employers’ policies were often the only thing standing between them and clients who weren’t masked or vaccinated. As a result, they now feel much more exposed.