- Texas-based grocer H-E-B announced this week that it no longer requires customers to wear face masks to shop in its stores, according to local news reports.
- The chain still encourages shoppers to wear face coverings. Doing so will remain mandatory for employees and vendors.
- H-E-B initially made wearing face masks a requirement for customers in mid-April.
H-E-B is relaxing its rules on face masks despite Texas local officials still strongly suggesting the use of masks or facial coverings in public.
The retailer was one of the few grocers that made face coverings a requirement for shoppers and is one of the first to loosen its rules. Other grocers that instituted face mask requirements, including Costco and SpartanNash, still have them in place. Whole Foods provides face masks to people entering its stores at no charge, although it does not require shoppers to cover their faces while on its premises. The grocer requires employees to wear masks.
States like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York as well as cities like Los Angeles are requiring people to wear masks while inside grocery stores. Texas is currently in the process of reopening its economy, with nearly all businesses, including restaurants, allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.
H-E-B is retaining other operational changes designed to keep customers safe. For example, the chain only offers to-go orders for its in-store restaurants and has waived fees for next day pickup. H-E-B also runs a unique program that assigns senior shoppers a personal online shopping assistant. The retailer includes a $10 tip to the delivery driver.
H-E-B topped a recent survey conducted by Bond Brand Loyalty that measured customer satisfaction with the COVID-19 precautions implemented by grocery chains, outpacing Costco and Walmart, the San Antonio Express-News reported.