Retail, grocery union airs concern about mask revision

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A labor union for grocery and retail workers says it fears the Biden administration’s decision to relax its mask rules for COVID-19 vaccinated persons will put its members at risk because unvaccinated persons will use it as an excuse to ditch their face coverings.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents 1.3 million frontline workers, said it will be impossible to tell who got the shots and who didn’t after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated persons no longer need masks in most indoor settings.

“Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures. Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said.

The statement offered a dose of dissent after Americans largely hailed the revised guidance as a pivot to normalcy. The CDC said fully vaccinated persons should still wear masks in hospitals, prisons and on public transportation, however.

Some experts said the CDC’s move should incentivize people to get the shots so they can get back to normal, while others said it will let younger people get what they want — no more masks — without bothering to get vaccinated.

President Biden asked unvaccinated persons to keep wearing their masks, though said they won’t “go out and arrest” people who cheat.

UFCW said it wants some clarity on how the guidance should be implemented in stores.

“Vaccinations are helping us take control of this pandemic, but we must not let our guard down,” Mr. Perrone said. “As one of America’s largest unions for essential workers, UFCW is calling on the CDC and our nation’s leaders to clarify how this new policy will be implemented, how essential workers will be protected, and how these workers will protect the communities they serve.”

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