Giant Eagle company Reinstates Mask Policy For Staff, 'Strongly' Encouraged For Shoppers

Giant Eagle company Reinstates Mask Policy For Staff, 'Strongly' Encouraged For Shoppers

Giant Eagle has announced they are reinstating mask-wearing requirements for team members starting this week, regardless of vaccination status. 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Giant Eagle has made keeping Team Members safe and neighbors healthy its number one priority. As the company witnesses increases in positive COVID-19 cases across its communities and the country, Giant Eagle is reinstituting the wearing of face masks, cloth face coverings, or face shields for Team Members and guests this week, inclusive of all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” Giant Eagle said in a statement.

Amid rising concern over a resurgence in coronavirus infections driven by the delta variant, Giant Eagle will reinstitute mask requirements for its staff this week — and will begin “strongly requesting” shoppers to wear them as well.

According to a statement issued late Monday evening, workers will be required to wear a face mask, cloth face covering or face shield starting on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Workers will begin urging customers to wear them on Friday, Aug. 6, and the company said, “We will have Team Members ready at each of our stores to provide a complimentary mask for any guest who does not have one when they visit with us.”

Giant Eagle has said they will have employees available to provide masks to customers who do not have one. 

Over the next week, Giant Eagle will also be increasing resources to educate team members about the benefits and risks of getting a COVID-19 vaccination as well as reviewing paths forward regarding a vaccine requirement for all employees. 

“The introduction of the Delta variant has created a renewed sense of urgency across our communities,” the grocer said, citing data that suggests the variant is more contagious and thus makes even “vaccinated individuals more prone to transmitting the virus and leaving those unvaccinated at higher risk of illness and hospitalization. … Through these and other efforts, we can all do our part to keep our communities healthy, our local businesses thriving and our students and teachers in the best possible position for the upcoming school year.”

The company said it was also reviewing a potential vaccine requirement for all its employees, as well as educating them about vaccination.

The move, by one of the region’s best-known retailers, suggests how the delta variant has redrawn battle lines in the fight against a disease that the region seemed to be moving past. The number of new cases discovered within Allegheny County has vaulted to more than 100 a day — a month ago it was closer to 10 a day. 

Nor is Giant Eagle the only local institution rethinking its approach: Earlier in the day on Monday, Carnegie Mellon University announced that it was reimposing its own mask requirement effective August 15.