‘Don’t kick us to the curb,’ another customer speaks out about mask enforcement at Walmart


A local Walmart has sparked some controversy among customers complaining about how the statewide mandate is being enforced in its store.

News 10 spoke to a Walmart customer yesterday who was arrested for trespassing at the Eagle Point store after she removed her mask. Since then we have heard from other customers some complaining the mask mandate has not been enforced at the store while others are complaining about the way it is being enforced. 

“Walmart needs to work with the people around here,” said Sherry Roberts, another Walmart customer with a medical condition who feels she was treated unfairly “Don’t kick us to the curb.”

Because Roberts has C.O.P.D she claims to be medically exempt from wearing a mask though the Oregon mask mandate does not grant medical exceptions. Roberts said she has a note from her doctor explaining that she can not wear a mask due to her condition and she carries it around with her everywhere.

“I knew that it was going to be an issue way before so I wanted to get out ahead of it and have a doctor’s written exemption,” she said. “I try to stay away from everybody when I’m shopping to be courteous. I don’t get into anyone’s faces.”

Roberts noted that she has shopped at the same Walmart in Eagle Point before without any issues but said over the past couple of weeks employees began confronting her. Eventually, that led to her removal.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Department disclosed to News 10 that it has received two complaints alleging non-compliance of the mask mandate at the Eagle Point Walmart and said it is investigating.

News 10 visited the Walmart in question and observed several shoppers and two employees with their masks below their chins.

Walmart spokesman Robert Arrieta declined to comment on these issues and said they are simply enforcing the Oregon statewide mask mandate.

Roberts said she feels the store should offer alternative solutions for those with medical conditions do not allow them to wear masks.

“When this pandemic started they made concessions for elderly people. If Walmart would do something like that again. That would be a solution,” said Roberts.

Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames believes wearing the mask even with pre-existing conditions is crucial, as COVID cases continue to soar.

“There’s very little evidence of harm from masks. Even for people with respiratory conditions the amount of resistance to breathing is pretty insignificant,” he said. “Accommodations can be made for those individuals. It doesn’t mean if there’s a masking requirement to walk into a business you should be able to just walk in without a mask.”

Shames said the risks for patients with serious conditions like Roberts goes beyond the ability to wear a mask or not.

“Someone who has serious lung disease like COPD and may be coughing or need supplemental oxygen are at such high risk of getting and transmitting COVID,” said Shames. “They really should be careful when they are out and about anyway.”

In an interview, Oregon OSHA spokesman Aaron Corvin, explained that employers are not allowed to allow medical exemptions to the mask mandate but should instead provide alternatives such as a face shield or curbside pickup.

Arrieta noted that the Walmarts in Oregon do not carry shields and said the company’s policy does not require them to provide an alternative solution such as a shield.


Start the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.