Visit some of Weber County’s larger retailers and you’re likely to see many people, most of them perhaps, wearing face coverings.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re still required, though. Gauging by signage outside some of the county’s large supermarkets and big box stores — places that get relatively heavy traffic — policies vary, with some outlets recommending mask use, others requiring it.
Outside the Home Depot in Ogden, for instance, the language is unequivocal. “All customers must wear facial coverings while shopping in our stores, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine,” reads a sign there. That squares with language on Home Depot’s corporate website, which advises that masks must be worn in its stores.
Outside the Riverdale Lowe’s, the signage is softer, requesting that individual customers put on masks, but not explicitly mandating it: “Please wear your face mask.” And despite tougher language on signs outside the Ogden Lowe’s stating that face masks “are required,” Lowe’s spokesperson Pedro Chen indicated that the Riverdale signage, putting the ultimate power in customers’ hands, reflects corporate policy.
Company officials “will continue to take preventative measures at our stores nationwide, including reinforcing social distancing, requiring associates to wear masks while serving customers and consistently requesting that customers wear masks for the safety of everyone in our stores,” Chen, a spokesman at Lowe’s corporate offices in Mooresville, North Carolina, said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
Through April 9, state guidelines required mask use in public places to guard against the spread of COVID-19. Thus, they were pretty much required at all retailers, restaurants and other places that drew the public. As the COVID-19 threat has seemingly started to recede, a new set of state rules went into effect on April 10 scaling things back. Now stores, restaurants and other places of business have more wiggle room, which has made for a patchwork of guidelines and mask regulations from store to store.
Signage at the Ogden and Harrisville Walmart locations offer language that cuts it both ways.
Banners hanging outside each store advise arriving customers to get their masks out: “Walmart requires face coverings for all customers, associates and others while visiting our stories,” they read. Smaller signs on the sliding doors going into each locale tell another story: “Per State/Local order, it is recommended that customers wear facial covering, excluding children under the age of 2 and persons who have difficulty breathing,” they read.
For the record, though, Walmart requires masks. “Regarding our mask policy, we require masks of our associates and customers in all stores. This is a company policy and does not vary by store or state,” said Courtney Paulson, a spokesperson from Walmart’s corporate offices in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Target, too, requires mask use among customers, according to its website.
As with Lowe’s, customers at the Riverdale Michael’s, a chain craft store, are left to decide whether to mask or not. The company would like shoppers to don face coverings, but it’s not a mandate: “We strongly encourage our customers to wear a mask while visiting us,” signage there reads.
“Attention customers/Face coverings are required,” reads a sign outside Winco.
“Masks required for entry,” reads a sign outside the east Ogden Fresh Market.
“Masks required,” reads a sign at the Smith’s on Harrison Boulevard.
Though the mask mandate in public places has fallen away per the change on April 10, face coverings are still required in schools and at gatherings of 50 or more people. The rule for gatherings applies to public events, like concerts, said Lori Buttars, spokesperson for the Weber-Morgan Health Department, not stores that may draw 50-plus shoppers at a time. “Those businesses like that are allowed to set their own policies,” Buttars said.
As with supermarkets and big box stores, policies vary among the locally owned restaurants and other businesses along Historic 25th Street.