longos masks

Longo's customers are now required to wear face masks while shopping

If you haven't yet incorporated non-medical face masks into your spring 2020 wardrobe, you may want to jump on that — especially if your local grocery store happens to be a Longo's.

The Toronto-based supermarket chain just put a mandatory face mask policy into effect for customers at all 37 of its stores across the GTA and Hamilton.

Beginning today, May 4, nobody can enter a Longo's location without wearing a face mask or some sort of cloth face covering, such as a bandana.

"Until now, guests were only required to wear masks only at select stores," said Longo's President and CEO, Anthony Longo, in a statement regarding the move. "It is currently mandatory across all stores for Team Members to be wearing either masks, shields or face covering."

While the company's website asks guests to bring masks with them, Longo said in his statement that "those who arrive without masks will be provided disposable ones."

The supermarket is similarly encouraging customers on Twitter to bring their own masks.

"If you have forgotten your face covering or need a mask, please ask a Team Member at the store entrance or ask to speak to a manager," reads a reply to one patron. "Masks are available for purchase in-store."

Those who refuse to wear masks are similarly asked to speak with their local store's manager.

While not mandated or even encouraged as a protective measure by Canadian public health officials, the federal government does state on its website that "when worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mask or face covering can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets."

"Wearing a homemade facial covering/non-medical mask in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it and is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing," reads a Government of Canada advisory.

"However, it can be an additional measure taken to protect others around you, even if you have no symptoms. It can be useful for short periods of time, when physical distancing is not possible in public settings, such as when grocery shopping or using public transit."

The federal government even provides "sew and no-sew" instructions for citizens to create their own masks for personal use.

In addition to its new mandatory mask policy, Longo's is also conducting a "guest wellness screening pilot" at some yet-to-be-announced locations.

The wellness screening includes a "contactless temperature check," according to the company's website, and has been "approved by Public Health and independent medical professionals."

Longo's, like Loblaws, Costco and several other major grocery retailers in Ontario, has experienced at least one outbreak of COVID-19 among staff in recent weeks.

It remains to be seen if other leading Canadian supermarkets will follow suit with mask policies, though some independent retailers in Toronto have been requiring customers to use face coverings for weeks now.

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