Patriotic DC Comics Masks | Source: MaskClub

The wearing of masks to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a hot-button issue that’s led to conflict at retail. While many independent toy stores and specialty retailers have been seeing some success in offering fashionable mask options for consumers, conflict between some members of the public and staff members at retail has led to heated situations that have been well-documented in viral videos.

Just as Walmart and Best Buy adopted nationwide policies requiring customers to wear masks or face coverings in their stores this week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is calling upon all retailers to adopt mask mandates. Starbucks, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others are already on board with policies.

Related: COVID-19 — The Battle Persists

Two weeks ago, the NRF co-signed a letter with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and other industry groups urging nationwide mask mandates. The letter was sent to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and governors across the country,

“Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” said the NRF in a statement.  “Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk.”

In an effort to assist store owners and retail workers, the NRF has issued a series of de-escalation tips for dealing with tense situations.