Whole Foods Market shoppers will now be required to wear face masks or similar covering, following the implementation of a new mandate in British Columbia on August 25.
"Masks are already required by local mandate in Ontario, and effective yesterday (Aug. 25), we’re requiring that customers wear face coverings in our stores in British Columbia," a representative from the Austin, Texas-based grocery chain told Vancouver Is Awesome via e-mail.
Whole Foods joins several other grocers and retailers serving Metro Vancouver and B.C., like Loblaw Inc. brands No Frills and Real Canadian SuperStore, TJX Companies (HomeSense, Winners, Marshalls) and Walmart Canada, in requiring shoppers to don non-medical face masks while in their stores.
Earlier this week, an employee at the Whole Foods Brentwood location in Burnaby came forward to express fears about working in the store after a colleague tested positive for COVID-19.
The store employee who spoke to the Burnaby NOW said they were frustrated that the company refused to disclose the date of the positive COVID-19 test, and other workplace-related details regarding the infected team member.
“The safety of our Team Members and customers is our top priority and we are diligently following all guidance from local health and food safety authorities,” said Whole Foods in a statement. “We’ve been working closely with our store Team Members, and are supporting the diagnosed Team Member, who is in quarantine. Out of an abundance of caution, the store has performed a professional deep cleaning and disinfection, on top of our current enhanced sanitation measures. All Whole Foods Market stores continue to operate under social distancing and crowd control measures. Additionally, we have installed Plexiglass barriers at check out, are requiring temperature checks and face masks for anyone working in our stores, and have implemented enhanced daily cleanliness and disinfection protocols in all of our stores.”
Now Whole Foods has confirmed the addition of the mask policy for customers shopping in their B.C. stores.
Whole Foods Market operates seven stores in British Columbia, six of which are in Metro Vancouver. There are three stores in Vancouver (Cambie, Robson, Kitsilano), one in North Vancouver, one in West Vancouver, one in Burnaby, and one in Victoria.