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Mandatory face coverings required for Longo's shoppers starting Monday

Last Updated May 4, 2020 at 12:52 pm EDT

A Longo's employee screens customers at the entrance to their Brampton location as the grocery chain enacted a policy requiring mandatory facemasks inside. (Tony Fera/CityNews Toronto)

If you do your grocery shopping at Longo’s you will now be required to wear a face covering while in the store.

“As a family business, our number one priority is the health and safety of our Team Members and Guests,” reads a letter posted on the company website and sent to shoppers by President and CEO Anthony Longo. “To help protect our community, effective May 4th, 2020, all Guests will be required to wear a mask or face covering while in our stores.”

The company said “any sort of face covering” such as a bandanna would be acceptable in responding a number of questions on social media regarding the lack of notice for customers to purchase masks.

The company added that if anyone refuses to wear a mask or face covering or they are not able to wear one, they should speak with the store manager.

“To reiterate, if a guest arrives to a store and doesn’t have a face covering or mask, we’ll do our best to ensure your shopping experience is a safe one,” read the social media post.

Children under the age of 2 are exempt from the new face covering measure.

The new measures come in the wake of an outbreak of COVID-19 among employees at two of its GTA locations.

The Longo’s location on Weston Road in Vaughan reopened March 28 after undergoing a deep cleaning and sanitization and being closed for two weeks after as many as eight employees tested positive for coronavirus. An employee at the Longo’s store in Maple also tested positive for the disease but public health officials allowed the store to remain open as there was no threat to the public.

There’s been no word if any of the other major grocery retailers will follow Longo’s lead and require shoppers to cover their face while in their stores.

In the United States, Costco is making it mandatory for its members to wear a face covering while in their stores starting Monday.

“We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience,” the company said in a letter sent to Costco members. “Although some may disagree with this policy or question its effectiveness, we’re choosing to err on the side of safety in our shopping environments.”

It’s uncertain if the measure will also apply to Canadian Costco locations. There was no updated statement on the company’s Canadian website, with the only requirement for face coverings applying to employees at this time.