GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 12, 2020) – The Fresh Market, as a safety precaution and in accordance with guidance from health authorities, will require all guests to wear face coverings when shopping in their stores, starting Tuesday, April 14.
The Fresh Market continues to place the safety of their team members and guests as the top priority, and as this situation evolves, has added new policies and protocols following the guidance of The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization, Food & Drug Administration and local public health authorities. Examples include physical distancing guidance throughout the store, reserved hours for guests in higher risk categories, contactless credit card checkout, limiting the number of guests in the store, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
When the CDC updated their guidance to recommend people wear cloth face coverings when in public settings, The Fresh Market modified their policy to require all team members to wear a face mask or cloth face covering while working in the store.
While some state and city ordinances have already made it mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings, The Fresh Market is taking this additional step to be consistent, proactive and better ensure the safety of everyone in all 159 of their store locations.
“In order to help keep our communities safe, wearing face coverings is a necessary measure in public settings where physical separation is difficult,” said James Ball, Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at The Fresh Market. “There is growing evidence that more individuals than previously thought may be carriers of coronavirus but do not show symptoms of the illness. Wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of the virus by asymptomatic individuals. Since it is impossible to know who may be asymptomatic, it is prudent for everyone to wear a covering. The goal is to reduce the virus transmission to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
This request to require guests to wear face coverings is in the same spirit as asking guests to follow physical distancing guidance. In order for these safety measures to be effective, The Fresh Market is asking the community to participate.
An email was sent out to guests on Saturday, in addition to posts on social media. Stores will also have signage outside the store about the new face covering policy and reminding guests to stay two carts (six feet) apart while shopping. Team members will be available to greet guests to help answer questions.
The CDC has instructions for how to make your own cloth face covering, which can be found here. The CDC has not changed their recommendation on whether it is prudent to wear gloves other than as required for food preparation, since coronavirus is spread through droplets and gloves therefore would not mitigate the transmission of this disease. The Fresh Market’s team members are following the recommended handwashing guidance and washing their hands frequently, which can cause irritation. Therefore, front end team members are allowed to wear gloves as an additional layer of protection in between handwashing and have been instructed on how to properly wear and clean them.
The Fresh Market remains committed to continuing to serve the community with exceptionally clean, well-stocked stores in a safe environment, following all available public health recommendations.