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Enforcing face masks not up to stores, says Delhaize

Credit: Belga

Delhaize’s staff will not enforce the obligation to wear face masks, which will enter into effect on Saturday, said spokesman Roel Dekelver on Friday.

“We have five million customer visits every week, so it’s very difficult to monitor everyone,” Dekelver added.

“We won’t deny access” to a person not wearing a face mask this person. They will “ask politely” once but then call the police, Dekelver made clear.

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“Our policy is that this is the customer’s responsibility. Our people are not officers and will not enforce anything,” Dekelver said. “We had some cases of aggression in the stores at the beginning of the crisis. We want to avoid that,” he said.

“Our staff are already under pressure, we don’t want to put them under any more pressure by asking them to play policeman,” he added.

In order to allow customers who don’t have face masks to wear one, Delhaize will place its boxes of face masks, which it has been selling for several weeks now, closer to the entrance.

Delhaize staff will continue to disinfect the shopping carts, but the department store chain does not plan to hire additional security guards to verify the requirement to wear a mask.

Supermarket chain Colruyt echoes the sentiment that “it’s not up to us to do the enforcement, we’re not cops. Though we count on the goodwill of our customers,” they added, as for them, the motto is still, “all together against the virus.” The chain has said that it would offer free face masks in the first week for those who forget, “even though we’re assuming that that won’t be necessary for the vast majority.”

The consequences of not obeying the obligation to wear face masks are not yet known, neither for customers, nor for the stores themselves, though Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said that stores could be closed if it happens this occurs several times.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times