Walmart, Home Depot, and Walgreens say they'll still serve customers with no masks in spite of saying masks were mandatory in stores, out of concern for employee safety. Have you seen this happen at your Utica or New Hartford store?

An executive order by Governor Cuomo requires masks to be worn by New Yorkers when shopping, and any other time they are unable to maintain 6' of social distance, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Unfortunately, mask wearing has become a point of contention, putting retail employees in the uncomfortable position of becoming the "mask police." In several instances across Central New York, and the country, employees at various retail establishments have been the subject of angry outbursts and even violence when attempting to get customers to comply with store policy.

Just a few weeks ago, Walmart issued a mandatory mask order - and other retailers followed suit. Now, Walmart and other stores appeared to have shifted in their tracks. According to the Daily Mail, Walmart now says they will no longer refuse to serve customers who aren't wearing masks. Home Depot, Lowe's, Walgreens, and CVS say they will also "suggest" customers wear masks, but will serve patrons without one.

Walmart employees are instructed to ask a customer to wear a mask, but to allow a customer to walk in without one, and then contact management for "next steps."

A Central New York customer said she witnessed just such an interaction this weekend at a Walmart, where an unmasked customer was allowed to continue shopping.

Do you find the varying mask practices confusing? Are you more or less likely to shop in a store where masks aren't enforced? Let us know at

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