Mask Wearing Habits of Employees At Local Stores

Many stores are now telling employees that they have to wear masks on the job.

Nick Sauers

Many stores are now telling employees that they have to wear masks on the job.

Nick Sauers, Writer

In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, many stores across Wentzville now require all employees to wear masks. This is said to help decrease the chances of the employees getting sick as well as the customers in the store. There is a large debate over the mask policies at stores because many people have concluded that masks are not effective in the area of decreasing the spread of COVID-19. However, even if you think it is beneficial for employees to wear masks, the masks are still absolutely useless if employees in these stores are wearing their masks incorrectly.

The CDC states that in order to ensure that the mask does its job, you should, “put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.” It is crucial that the masks are worn this way because it covers sources of respiration, such as the nose and the mouth. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, wearing a mask incorrectly would do nothing for prevention of the virus. But, how many employees in each store are not wearing masks?

Data from four popular Wentzville stores (Target, Walmart, Schnucks, and Dierbergs) was collected on Thursday, July 23 between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM to find out just how many employees were wearing their masks properly. Each store was explored for about ten minutes and the number of employees that were visible during that time period were included.

First off was Target. A total of 22 employees were observed during the time period. Of these 22 employees, 16 employees wore their masks directly following the CDC guidelines. Four of these employees wore their masks, leaving their nose exposed. Two employees had their masks on their chin, not covering their nose or mouth at all. Overall, the majority of the employees (73 percent) wore their masks correctly, but it is important to note that the majority of employees who wore their masks incorrectly during this time period worked in the cashier section and were in fairly close contact with other employees and customers.

Next, data was collected from Walmart. A total of 38 employees could be seen working at this time. Out of these employees, only 21 of them wore their masks correctly (only a little more than half) Similarly to Target, only four workers were observed with their masks under their nose. However, the really interesting part of this data was that a whopping 13 workers wore masks that were not protecting any part of their face. Most of these workers who were not properly covering their face worked in the cashier section and some were actually talking to other employees and customers without wearing a proper facial covering.

Further data was accumulated at Schnucks. 16 people were observed and only one person was not wearing a mask properly (the mask was not covering face or mouth). Even though this is a very good proportion, the one who was not wearing a mask was working very closely with customers’ food and could have easily spread the virus that way.

Similar data was collected at Dierbergs. Out of 18 total employees, only one employee wore a mask not covering their nose and only one employee wore a mask not covering their nose or mouth. Yet again, the improper mask users worked closely with customers and common goods that they bought (one in the bakery, one in the pharmacy).

It seems that a great number of employees in these popular stores are not following CDC guidelines and this can have a great impact on the people who shop there. If employees do not wear masks properly, they can easily spread the virus to other people who are at the store as well. If stores really think COVID-19 is a big issue, why are they allowing their workers to behave in such a manner that could make matters worse for customers, especially since many of the workers not wearing masks are in close contact with other people. An important thing to mention is that the stores with the greatest number of correctly worn masks were union stores. It is unclear whether this is a coincidence or if there is better management of employees. Overall, though, requiring employees to wear masks is not beneficial unless there is someone ensuring that the masks are worn properly.

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