Over the past few months, many states have issued mask orders. Every jurisdiction is different, but these rules are intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 in indoor areas where social distancing isn’t possible.
Though a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that masks are effective at lowering the amount of aerosol emitted during speaking and breathing, there’s still plenty of controversy surrounding the subject. Every week, there seems to be a new headline about customers getting upset or becoming verbally and/or physically abusive.
Mask mandates aren’t universally popular, but in many states, they are required. As the owner of a convenience store or filling station, it’s your job to comply with all rules and regulations without putting yourself or your team members at risk. With all of the conflicting guidance provided by the government, it’s no wonder so many c-store owners are confused. Fortunately, things are starting to get a little easier.
On Aug. 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on enforcing mask policies. In an effort to limit workplace violence, the CDC now recommends that retail workers do “not argue with a customer if they make threats or become violent.” Furthermore, the agency says that employees should not “attempt to force anyone who appears upset or violent to follow COVID-19 prevention policies or practices related to COVID-19.”
Workplace violence is a broad term and applies to:
Whenever possible, encourage your team members to resolve these conflicts using a peaceful approach. To successfully do this, employees must remain calm, give a person space and not touch or try to forcibly remove them.
These are undoubtedly strange times, but enforcing a mask policy isn’t worth an injury or psychologically stressful situation. To learn more about the CDC’s new guidance for limiting workplace violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.