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H-E-B Says It Will Keep COVID-19 Safety A Priority In Stores, But Will Not Require Customers To Mask Up

An H-E-B employee wears a mask while checking groceries.
Courtesy the H-E-B Newsroom

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Gov. Greg Abbott's rescission of his statewide mask mandate last week put the pressure on individual businesses to decide how to go forward with their own policies.

H-E-B quickly announced that stores would "urge" customers to wear masks and make it a requirement for employees and vendors. The grocery chain's policy has not changed.

"While statewide policy has changed, our store protocol has not. Mask use at our stores will remain," according to a press release released Friday.

Signs that mention mask use will remain at store entrances, and the store will continue to make announcements regarding mask use.

Stores will offer masks to customers who do not have one, but employees will not turn away customers who decline to wear one.

"H-E-B has always been a strong proponent and advocate of mask use even before mandates and orders were passed," the release states.

Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital, said he's optimistic about the nation's outlook as more Americans get vaccinated, but that it's still too soon to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

"Especially with the rise of the more transmissible and lethal B.1.1.7 variant," Hotez said. "Until now, H-E-B was doing its best by creating a safe environment for shoppers and mandating masks in their stores. H-E-B needs to continue this policy, not forever, but for the next few months."

The mask mandate will expire on Wednesday.

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