Market Baskets can require shoppers to wear masks, Board of Health says
by Allison Comeau, Eagle Tribune
When it comes to shopping at some of the city's Market Basket locations, it's "no shoes, no shirt — no mask — no service.'' The chairman of the city's Board of Health is speaking out after some residents complained on social media that they were turned away from local supermarkets for not wearing masks or other forms of face coverings. Board Chairman Peter Carbone said the order passed by the board last week was intended to encourage patrons of essential businesses such as Market Basket and other supermarkets to wear face coverings while shopping. The rule, agreed to by the three-member board and Mayor James Fiorentini, was not mandatory, but mistyping in the final document said patrons "must" wear masks instead of "should" wear masks, Carbone said. "We weren't trying to force people (customers) to wear masks," Carbone said. He said, however, that the city's three Market Basket supermarkets, are free, as private businesses, to set and enforce their own rules about patrons wearing masks. The only requirement set by the Board of Health is that store employees must wear masks, Carbone said. According to the board's ruling, employees of essential businesses such as supermarkets will be allowed to bring their own face coverings to work, and the employer must allow use of those coverings. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which should be left for medical professionals and first responders. Workers at essential businesses, including pharmacies and drive-thru food and coffee shops, are also expected to wear face coverings when interacting with the public, preparing food or working within six feet of each other, according to the Board of Health order.