During the weekend of December 19/20, as I attempted to enter our Fort Payne Wal Mart store, I was met by a large group of Biker Club member who were raising money for the Salvation Army, an organization which many folks support with donations every Christmas. Of the approximately 25 men who spread across the front of the store and both entrances, only 1 was wearing a mask to protect against spreading COVID-19 to others. When I was approached by one of these guys for a donation I asked where his mask was. He replied by laughing and making a joke. Very unsettling! [Later I made a donation to the one guy with the mask.]

Every health care organization – state, federal and private had strongly recommended the use of face masks as a preventative to the spread of Covid. This is no longer a theory – masks have been shown to work. And until we get access to a vaccine for most of our citizens, the only tools we have to fight off the pandemic are masks, social distancing and hand washing.

Wal Mart was originally quite good at enforcing the state’s mandatory face mask rules and social distancing in its stores. That ended this fall when they relaxed entrance requirements and the use of face masks inside the store. They put their customers at great risk when those recommendations and mandates were relaxed. Granting permission for groups like the bikers to assemble at store entrances without requiring them to wear masks in an indication of gross disregard for proven science, not to mention Governor Ivey’s mandate to wear masks in public.

It will now be very hard to justify shopping at the Fort Payne Wal Mart. I urge Wal Mart, for the sake of their customers, to immediately begin enforcing the simple rules we are having to live by these days. Until that happens, they make a mockery out of their professed pledge of offering customers a safe environment in which to shop. That is dangerous, shameful and unforgiveable.

Holley Midgley, Mentone, Alabama

Send letters to the Times-Journal by writing P.O. Box 680349, Fort Payne, AL 35968. Fax 256-845-7459. Email emily.kirby@times-journal.com.

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