Jewel-Osco now ‘requesting’ employees wear masks

A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain cited the high COVID-19 transmission rates.

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Customers leave a Jewel-Osco store at 6014 S. Cottage Grove Ave. on March 25, 2019.

Jewel-Osco has announced that it is asking employees to wear face masks, citing the high transmission of COVID-19.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

With the city and surrounding areas considered at high risk for the transmission of COVID-19, Jewel-Osco is now asking employees to wear masks.

“Jewel-Osco continues to follow the guidelines set by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and Illinois Department of Public Health. Due to current high COVID transmission rates in the counties where we have stores, the distribution center, and the corporate office, we are requesting that associates wear a mask,” Jewel-Osco spokeswoman Mary Frances Trucco said in a statement Thursday.

Asked to clarify whether “requesting” means employees are now required to wear masks, Trucco didn’t respond.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago and surrounding areas are considered “high risk.” As of June 1, the seven-day average for coronavirus cases statewide was 4,629, according to state statistics; that’s high compared with case numbers from earlier in the year, but nowhere near the seven-day average in Illinois of 28,775, recorded on Jan. 7.

When a community is at high risk of transmission, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s recommendations include wearing masks indoors while in public spaces; limiting gatherings to “small numbers”; and staying current with COVID-19 vaccines.

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