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Steve Urenda: Mom-and-pop business taking hit as big-box retailer allows non-compliance

Steve UrendaOn May 5, I witnessed 13 people in the Oregon City Fred Meyer without masks. In addition they were proselytizing about not wearing masks and mocking the virus as fake.

I pointed these people out to the store manager as they were only 10 feet away. He refused to do anything, stated that they are not enforcing the rule, and that perhaps these people had a medical issue and could not wear masks.

Fred Meyer's website plainly states that they are enforcing masks and the 6-foot rule to protect customers, but this is a lie.

I made an official corporate complaint and they said they would "look into it." On May 6, I managed to talk to the actual store director, who told me that they are willing to enforce the policy, but that people are lying to them when they come in the store and are telling them that they have a medical condition and cannot wear masks.

Fred Meyer has a lot of elderly customers. Don't they deserve protection?

And why are small mom-and-pop local business taking the hit as complying with mask mandates, while billion-dollar Fred Meyer does not have to? There needs to be pressure put upon this retailer because other big-box retailers are complying, but Kroger seems to have a unique issue.

This is a crisis of conscience, a values-driven decision. We need help for accountability as infection rates keep rising here in Oregon.

Steve Urenda is an Oregon City resident and business owner.

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