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Coronavirus: B.C. supermarkets ask customers to wear masks

Mandatory face masks at B.C. supermarkets?
Mandatory face masks at B.C. supermarkets?

Some of B.C.’s supermarket chains are asking customers to wear masks while shopping, as the parts of the economy slowly begin to reopen amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

T&T Supermarket will require all customers to do so starting May 11.

“We have implemented social distances in all branches, providing customers with temperature service and disinfecting hand sanitizer, and installing protective rubber plates at the checkout counter,” the chain said in a statement.

“According to the Canadian Public Health Department, proper use of masks can reduce the spread of personal droplets.”

The country’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said non-medical masks will help protect others but not the wearer.

READ MORE: B.C.’s top doctor weighs in on benefits of non-medical masks: ‘Not going to protect you’

Whole Foods Market is introducing the same measures over the next few weeks.

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In a statement to Global News, the company said staff are already required to wear face masks, and now all customers will need to follow suit.

“Whole Foods Market will be providing face masks at the entrance of all stores for customers who do not have their own face covering,” the statement said.

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Save-On-Foods said at this time they will not be mandating masks be worn in their stores.

“As always the health and safety of our team members and customers is our top priority and we will continue to rely on our governments’ guidance in this area,” the company said in a statement.

Global News has also reached out to Loblaws.

WATCH: (Aired April 6) Changing advice on non-medical masks and COVID-19 protection from B.C. health officials:

Changing advice on non-medical masks and COVID-19 protection from B.C. health officials
Changing advice on non-medical masks and COVID-19 protection from B.C. health officials

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has said non-medical masks are fine to wear, but “not an alternative to the things we know work” to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing and washing hands.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Wearing non-medical masks will help others but not you, Tam says

COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted when an infected person spreads virus-laden droplets by coughing or sneezing.

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– With files from Simon Little