Everything You Need To Know About Whole Foods' Updated Mask Policy

If you are planning to head to Whole Foods, you will need to know that the grocery chain has tweaked its face covering policy. Now, if you have a condition that makes it difficult for you to wear a mask, you will need to have a face shield, or take part in a medical screening procedure before you enter the store. This new requirement was posted on Whole Foods' COVID-19 website, which outlines the changes the chain has undertaken because of the pandemic.

While the overall face covering requirement is not new, as Whole Foods began requiring all customers to wear face masks in July 2020 — and each store provides masks at the entrance for guests who do not have face coverings of their own — the new requirement comes less than a week after one worker took to Reddit to reveal that a customer coughed on her after she had asked said customer to put on her mask. This policy change also comes after the New York Daily News reported that more than two dozen workers at a Whole Foods in Brooklyn, N.Y., tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Whole Foods has changed the way it operates in response to the pandemic

Like many grocery chains across the country, Whole Foods has had to change the way it does business in order to adapt to the growing seriousness around the coronavirus pandemic. On its site, Whole Foods says all its stores have dedicated shopping hours for those who are 60 or older, have disabilities, or those who might fit the CDC's description as someone who might be at high risk of getting COVID-19. It also has dedicated grocery pick-up times for Prime members who are 60 years and over, and it is partnering with Amazon to offer free, two-hour grocery delivery and door drop at over 2,000 locations around the country. 

Whole Foods is not the only grocery that has had to tighten up on its COVID-19 face mask policies, however. In November 2020, Costco told its members it would no longer allow members, guests, and employees to enter the store if they did not have a face mask or face shield. In the past, exemptions were made if a customer or guest had a medical condition that made it difficult for them to wear masks. New regulations have also been imposed as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths across the country continue to rise.