Strange times we’re living in… very strange times.
A North Carolina Food Lion grocery store has been going in circles after instituting an American flag face mask ban on employees. According to WECT, 69-year-old Air Force veteran Gary Dean had been wearing an American flag face mask to work when his manager told him that it was no longer acceptable. Apparently, some were “offended” by the image.
So what did Gary do? He quit.
Food Lion released a statement saying that the policy was meant to ban employees wearing all forms of writing, insignia or symbols and that the flag fell under that corporate policy.
“At Food Lion, we have great respect for the American flag. Like many other organizations, we also have policies that guide the attire and conduct of associates in the workplace. As part of our effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the well-being of our associates and customers, we’ve required associates to either wear reusable face masks provided by Food Lion or choose to wear a different face covering while working.
However, all face coverings must adhere to standards set by the company and communicated to each of our more than 77,000 associates. The policy prohibits associates from wearing clothing with writing, insignia or symbols. The dress code is meant to ensure a consistent and professional representation of our associates inside of our stores.”
But in less than a week, after a TON of backlash, the company retracted the policy.
Food Lion deeply respects the American flag. We listened to our associates and customers about our uniform policy. We require that associates wear masks without writing, insignia or symbols. We will allow associates to wear masks with the American flag that meet this standard. pic.twitter.com/RAVYPDSYHF
They also released the following statement regarding the changes that they implemented:
“Food Lion has the utmost respect for the American flag and has a proud, long history of partnering with and supporting military organizations and communities. Over the past few days, we have been listening to our associates and customers about Food Lion’s mask policy as part of our uniform standards.
As COVID-19 spread, Food Lion worked to protect its associates by making masks available to be worn as part of their uniform. While we continue to maintain our uniform standards requiring associates to wear masks without writing, insignia or symbols, we will allow associates to wear masks with the American flag that meet this standard. We appreciate and thank our more than 77,0000 associates who are working hard every day to safely nourish our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve.”
Gary also shared that his father was a World War II hero and that he lost his best friend in the Vietnam War.