The grocery chain Whole Foods announced April 30 that it will soon begin handing out free, disposable single-use masks to shoppers to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
While not a requirement, the grocery chain says it requests that shoppers wear a face covering while in the store, the company said in a press release. "If customers don't already have their own face covering," the press release says, "they will be able to pick up a mask at the entrance of the Whole Foods Market store."
Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, the Seattle-based online shopping giant whose working conditions are under increasing scrutiny as customer demand increases.
Last week, Amazon said, it made 100 million masks available to employees of both Amazon and Whole Foods. "We have enough mask inventory to cover our entire operations and stores network, and we are requiring everyone working in our facilities to take and use them," the company wrote.
So far in Portland, there are two known cases of Whole Foods employees testing positive for COVID-19, as WW previously reported. One of those associates, who worked at the Pearl District location, died as a result of the virus last month. It was the second recorded death of a Whole Foods employee nationwide.
Last week, Whole Foods and Amazon employees participated in a national May Day strike, and one Portland worker told his story to Street Roots.