HOUSTON — Updated 3/5 at 4:45 p.m. with new statement from Randalls
With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rescinding his statewide face mask order Tuesday, effective March 10, businesses will no longer have to require masks.
Even so, some grocery store chains such as Aldi, Kroger and Sprouts are still requiring customers to wear face masks.
Below is a rundown of what grocery stores plan to do on Wednesday, March 10, when the statewide mask mandate ends.
ALDI will continue requiring customers to wear face masks inside its stores, according to a company spokesperson.
The store implemented its most recent face mask policy on July 17, 2020.
ALDI released a statement, saying in part:
“For the health and well-being of the communities we serve and for the protection of our employees, we will maintain our current nationwide policy requiring all employees and customers to wear a face covering when shopping in our stores. We will continue to assess any new guidelines issued by the CDC, and will keep our customers informed of any future changes.”
President Scott McClelland told KHOU 11 on Thursday that if a customer comes into a store and they don't have a mask on, then an employee will ask them if they can put their mask on or they will be offered a mask.
Scott said if the customer refuses, it will not escalate beyond that.
"We ask for kindness and understanding from our customers in our expectation of them to wear masks in our stores. Also, we understand some customers cannot wear a mask due to medical exceptions. We request all customers adhere to the Covid-19 protocols we have in place while shopping," the statement said, in part.
"Although the statewide mask mandate has been lifted in Texas, to ensure the safety of our customers and associates, Kroger will continue to follow health and safety guidelines recommended by the CDC by requiring all associates in our stores to wear a mask. We encourage all customers visiting our stores to continue to wear a mask to protect themselves, those around them, and our associates.
"We remind those who can’t wear masks that we offer low touch or no touch pickup and delivery services."
SPROUTS FARMERS MARKET
Sprouts Farmers Market will require customers to wear a face mask “in light of CDC recommendations," according to a store spokesperson. Face shields are also allowed.
Sprouts have face coverings available at the front of the stores for customers.
If a customer is medically unable to wear a face mask or face shield, he or she may contact your store to arrange a personal shopper, according to the Sprouts' COVID-19 policy on its website. A Sprouts team member will shop for your items and coordinate payment.
Additionally, customers unable to wear a face mask or face shield can get free curbside pickup.
"We require guests to wear masks or face coverings in all of our stores, except for guests with underlying medical conditions and young children. We also require all store team members to wear masks at work and have provided them with reusable and disposable masks. Those who have been vaccinated for coronavirus are still required to wear a mask and follow all social distancing guidelines, in line with current CDC guidance."
Fiesta will still require masks in the store.
Randalls sent us the following updated statement. The earlier information from the grocer was that masks were encouraged for customers. In the updated statement, they were made mandatory.
"The health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors is our top priority. Since the beginning of the pandemic, all our stores, including our Texas banners Albertsons, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets and Market Street have consistently followed the CDC’s guidance on masks for our associates, vendors, and customers. While we know that mask requirements have been controversial and polarizing across some of our operating areas, we also know that masks in combination with social distancing and proper cleaning and sanitization can work to prevent the spread of the virus. Although the State mandate will be lifted effective March 10, 2021, our front-line associates have not had full access to the vaccine. Subsequently, our stores and facilities in Texas will continue to require masks for associates, vendors, and customers regardless of the mask mandate being lifted. We will continue to look to the CDC’s recommendations to determine our safety practices and look forward to the vaccine being readily available not only to front line teams but to the general population in the coming months."
Walmart did not release any updated guidance following Abbott's announcement.
According to the company's policy posted on their website on July 20, 2020, Walmart customers are required to wear a face mask.
The policy reads in part:
"We have seen that generally, customers have adopted new behaviors and take serious their personal responsibility to wear masks, practice social distancing and use our expanded hours to better spread traffic throughout the day, enabling us to provide them new options, like opening a second entrance and removing barriers at the front of our stores."
Whole Foods did not release any updated guidance following the announcement on Tuesday.
Masks are still required in Whole Foods, according to the most recent mask policy on July 20, 2020 from the store's website.
Employees are also offering customers gloves and personal face shields at the front of the stores, according to the website.
Costco did not provide any updated guidance following the announcement Tuesday.
Costco stores require employees and customers to wear face masks, according to the company's most recent update on Nov. 10, 2020.
Costco says it wants its stores to keep their policies simple and avoid any type of confusion for customers.