EUGENE, Ore. -- A major retailer in our area says they're encouraging their customers to wear masks -- and giving them free ones if they need one -- but at the end of the day, they wont force people to wear them.
Bi-Mart has 80 stores across Idaho, Washington, and Oregon with their headquarters in Eugene.
The following is a statement from Bi-Mart:
"To clarify any confusion that came from the story that ran last night on KEZI -- Bi-Mart is committed to health and safety across all our stores. For the safety of our members and employee-owners, and in accordance with the Oregon Health Authority, we are requiring anyone in our stores to wear appropriate face coverings, including face shields and masks, while shopping at Bi-Mart.
"Bi-Mart continues to follow all state and federal safety precautions on face covering, sanitation, and social distancing."
Don Leber who is in charge of marketing and advertising for Bi-Mart says they have all the proper signage, and they'll urge shoppers to wear masks, but he also said if someone chooses not to wear one, they will still be allowed in their stores.
"The message to our members is, this is a mandate by the state of Oregon," he said. "They're asking us and telling us that we need to have people in our store wearing a mask, so we're strongly urging them to wear a mask, offering them one, and trying to tell them the importance of it. The large majority of them have already been wearing masks so I think it will be a fairly seamless and positive experience for us."
Leber said much of the customer base at the stores have been asking them to make their own mask requirement. With the new statewide mandate, he said they're leaving it in the customers' hands.
He said states like Washington were way ahead of us so it was easy to follow their lead on matters like sanitation and how to notice the clear signs of COVID-19.