The Reason Everyone Is Praising This Trader Joe's Manager

A recent video posted to Instagram displays everything you need to know about anti-mask crusaders and the people tasked most often in enforcing COVID-19 precautions: grocery store workers. One Trader Joe's manager, in particular, is being hailed as a hero of sorts after giving new meaning to the word "calm" in a stand-off with a group of maskless demonstrators who blocked the entrance of a Trader Joe's in Salem, Oregon (via Daily Dot).

In the video, posted by user @davenewworld_, the group of people asking to be let into the store can't seem to agree on whether or not they're demonstrating or just "shopping." Nevertheless, the customers demand to be let in without masks. The manager approaches them and engages carefully, making sure to explain that he's not judging their choices or beliefs, but that he would like to have a conversation with them. He goes on to explain that as employees, he and his colleagues are "just trying to work, make a living, and the difference you guys are trying to make isn't going to be made with us." The Trader Joe's manager continues: "All I'm saying as a manager of this store is to enforce a mandate, whether you believe in it."

How the Trader Joe's manager handled the anti-maskers

After the mask-less people filming the exchange notice other masked customers being let in, they crowd in front of the store entrance. Tempers escalate quickly. But not for this one manager working during the pandemic. He deftly steps in front of the crowd to block the entrance and continues to explain calmly that the group has other options for getting their groceries. The manager explains that they won't be able to shop at that store unless they wear a mask. The maskless shoppers argue that he can't enforce something that isn't a law and that they have the right to shop, because of the Americans with Disabilities Act and their medical cards.

The thing is, the state of Oregon requires masks indoors. These mandates "carry the weight of the law," according to the Lund Report. The executive order from Oregon's Governor Kate Brown, which delegated enforcement of mask guidance regarding individuals to their Oregon Health Authority, said that the contents of the order "are public health laws." From the Health Authority's end, workplaces, including indoor markets, must comply with Oregon OSHA's rules, which "require all employees, patrons, and other visitors... to wear masks, face coverings, or face shields in all indoor spaces." They note that while reasonable accommodations can be made for people who can't wear masks, they can't include exempting them from wearing a mask in those spaces.