LOS ANGELES - A woman who refused to wear a face covering at the Gelson's in Dana Point is facing criticism after posting the video to social media.
In the cell phone video recorded by Shelley Lewis, Lewis is telling the employee that she has a "medical condition" that prevents her from wearing a mask, but said "HIPAA protects her from sharing the condition."
The employee tells her it is Gelson's store policy for customers to wear a mask and offers to give her a mask or shop for her. However, Lewis continued to refuse to wear a mask, and said the store will face a "lawsuit for discrimination."
The video has been viewed thousands of times online, and on Tuesday, the customers shopping at the Gelson's in Valley Village were wearing masks, per the company's policy.
"I don't like it [wearing a mask]. I think it's weird, but at the same time, it's better than dying. It's a small price to pay," said Paul Da Silva.
Allison Dennis also said she is wearing a mask for protection.
"I don't want to catch this [COVID-19], so I'm gonna wear a mask. People definitely should wear one because a lot of people are coughing, sneezing in stores, and if this is really airborne, you need to be protected," said Dennis.
Juan Gamez works for Instacart, and spends a lot of time in grocery stores. He said he sees people following the policy.
"Everybody's wearing masks all the time. I haven't seen one person without a mask. They're [store employees] doing a pretty good job enforcing the policies," said Gamez.
Gamez said Lewis should have followed the Gelson's mask policy.
"If they were offering her an alternative, she should have taken it," said Gamez.
Gelson's released a statement regarding the incident:
Gelson’s takes the health concerns around the Coronavirus very seriously and encourages their staff and customers to prioritize their health first. All Gelson’s markets will continue to follow health and government recommendations and take all necessary preventative measures for the health and safety of our customers and employees.
Face coverings will continue to be required inside the store as well as suspending reusable bags and temporarily eliminating returns. To facilitate social distancing, doors are monitored at all stores to maintain occupancy maximums, as well as to maintain distancing for lines outside of the store.
All shopping carts, checkout areas and other high-touch surfaces are frequently sanitized throughout the day, with plexiglass partitions at checkout stations, and reminders to shoppers about social distancing.