Update: July 18, 2020 at 11 a.m. ET
In an email sent this morning to FN, Foot Locker president and CEO Dick Johnson further explained the retailer’s customer face mask policy.
The executive confirmed that Foot Locker will not require customers to wear masks in store, which was first reported by the Financial Times. Johnson would further explain to FN in the email that “Foot Locker posts signage at our store entrances advising we require face masks to be worn inside store.” He also stated that “for the safety of our associates, our Stripers’ will not enforce or deny entrance to customers who choose not to wear one.”
As for Foot Locker retail staffers, Johnson said all employees are required to wear a face mask in stores, even in the states where one is not required.
What We Originally Reported
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Major retailers in a number of industries have announced mask requirements for customers shopping in their stores. Foot Locker, however, will reportedly not implement a similar rule.
According to a Financial Times report, Foot Locker president and CEO Dick Johnson will not require customers to wear masks at its stores in the U.S. The exec told the publication that “masks have become a political issue, not a health issue” and that he is “not willing to put [his employees] at risk” of having to implement a mandatory mask policy. Johnson also said that he was troubled by accounts the stories of employees at other retailers who have been injured during attempts to enforce a mandatory shopper mask policy.
However, Johnson did tell the FT that “no position is grounded in concrete” regarding store policy and he is speaking with Foot Locker district and store managers on a daily and weekly basis to discuss “the conflict over some of the rules around social distancing and capacity limits” for each area of the U.S. the retailer does business.
An email request to Foot Locker from FN for comment was not answered by time of publication.
Johnson’s decision comes as others in the footwear industry are making them a must in store.
Skechers, for instance, requires customers to wear masks and its president Michael Greenberg said in a statement to FN that locations are supplied with complimentary masks “to ensure that future patrons without masks can shop at our stores and adhere to these requirements for the safety of all.”
This decision, however, hasn’t been accepted without a fight from some shoppers.
In response to an incident in an Oklahoma City, Okla., store where a customer who refused to wear a face mask threw shoe boxes at employees, Greenberg told FN the scene was “troubling” and said that Skechers will “stand firm” on its face mask requirements. “We understand that these are frustrating and alarming times, and not everyone is comfortable with the new way we have to operate,” Greenberg said. “But this kind of aggression toward one of our team members is unacceptable and inappropriate.”
A number of retail giants have recently made face masks for shoppers mandatory. Walmart, for example, announced this week that all shoppers will be required to wear masks at its more than 5,000 U.S. stores. This policy will go into effect on July 20.