A petition gaining steam online is demanding that Texas-based grocery chain HEB begin requiring shoppers to wear face masks.
Created on Monday, the petition has already gained close to 13,000 signatures and is well on its way to reaching its goal of 15,000 supporters. The petition comes amid the news that several HEB employees across the state have tested positive for the coronavirus.
While HEB previously required face coverings for shoppers in some of its stores, the company reversed the policy earlier this month. Although face coverings are still encouraged, the rule was changed in response to an executive order issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) in April banning local governments from fining those who don't wear masks.
"HEB, as a private company, is free to require customers to wear masks in their stores, regardless of whether state or local laws require it," the petition reads. "As a consequence, many customers enter and leave HEB stores without masks, exposing HEB employees and their fellow shoppers to increased risk of being infected with the COVID virus."
The petition comes as Texas and many other states have begun experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases in what very well could be a second wave of infections.
Scientific research indicating the effectiveness of face coverings is also highlighted in the petition as one of several reasons why HEB should readopt its mask policy.
"For the benefit of its partners, its shoppers, and the wider public in Texas, HEB supermarkets need to REQUIRE customers in its stores to wear face-coverings," the petition adds. "Doing so will greatly protect its partners, its shoppers, and the wider communities where HEB supermarkets are located."
HEB had previously been lauded for its preparation for a pandemic.
The Daily Dot has reached out to HEB and will update with a response.