The other day, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced a phased-reopening of the state, and thousands flocked back to small shops, groceries, and big box stores. That’s created an issue with many as not all shoppers are wearing face coverings or following the recommended social distancing guidelines — even chatting with friendly faces they may have not seen in weeks.
Despite the cautious phased-in, though, some health experts say the lackadaisical posture of even a few may cause a spike in Covid-19 cases. Following established Center for Disease Control guidelines will not only create barriers to infections, but also help with the public misconception that we are “out of the woods” with our pandemic worries. After all, as a recently popular Facebook meme says, “The end of stay-at-home orders doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. It means they currently have room for you in the ICU.”
Retailers are contributing to the mixed messages through email notices about new, healthy practices. While increased cleaning, in-store signs promoting social distancing guidelines, and establishing special elderly guest hours seem like nice public relations gimmicks, they lack the teeth to do much.
The enforcement of one-way aisles, entry/exit only signage, and installation of acrylic shields at checkouts can be noted in different stores now too. The wearing of masks in various retail stores range from requiring staff to wear masks and gloves to others not allowing customers in without a mask, probably seen as the most drastic of enforcement.
For example, a recent visit to the Menard’s store in nearby Princeton had muscular, male employees guarding the entry turnstiles and enforcing the wearing of masks like bouncers at a popular, big-city club enforcing their guest list or dress code. On their website, Menard’s states, “Due to COVID-19, we are requiring all Guests to wear a mask or face covering while shopping in our stores.”
Even Governor Holcomb, who has been a strong proponent of social distancing guidelines during his stay-at-home order, found recently criticism for photos of him in public without a mask.