NYC supermarket upsets mask advocates and those who want to ditch their mask with new policy


NYC supermarket chain Morton Williams is slammed by woke customers for declaring they will no longer require staff or shoppers to wear them in line with CDC advice

  • Morton Williams supermarket officials announced on Monday that they would no longer require customers to wear masks while they shop
  • The email received backlash from many mask advocates 
  • Officials then tried to clarify their stance by saying they would ‘encourage’ the use of masks and ask people to be respectful
  • That email, though, drew the ire of customers who want to stop wearing masks
  • Co-owner Avi Kaner said he could not mandate his employees to be vaccinated and cannot ask customers for proof of vaccination to shop maskless 

Avi Kaner, the co-owner of Manhattan supermarket chain Morton Williams, said he received backlash over the chain’s new mask policy it announced on Monday

A New York City supermarket chain ‘stepped into the hornets’ nest’ on Monday when it announced it would no longer require customers to wear masks under new state and CDC guidelines.

The news initially drew the ire of many mask advocates, but when Morton Williams supermarket officials tried to clarify their new mask policy, they received even more emails from furious anti-maskers. 

‘We were not expecting the level of passion on both extremes,’ Avi Kaner, the co-owner of the Morton Williams supermarket chain, told the New York Post.

The saga began on Monday, when Morton Williams officials emailed customers about its decision to comply with the new state guidelines, which allow vaccinated New Yorkers to ditch their masks in most indoor settings, including businesses that allow it, starting on Wednesday.

The email said the grocer would ‘not ask for proof of vaccination’ to shop maskless, according to the Post, resulting in the grocery chain receiving angry emails from those who would like to continue to wear masks, officials wrote in a follow-up email a few hours later, in which they tried to clarify their new mask policy.

‘We recently sent you an email explaining our policy regarding masks,’ the follow-up email read. ‘In doing so, we knew that we were stepping into a hornets’ nest, and that many would feel this is a premature decision better suited for a later day.’ 

Under the supermarket chain's new policy, vaccinated New Yorkers would not be required to wear a mask to shop, but the grocer will not ask for proof of vaccination

Under the supermarket chain’s new policy, vaccinated New Yorkers would not be required to wear a mask to shop, but the grocer will not ask for proof of vaccination

It explained that the stores would put up signs ‘encouraging’ customers and employees to continue to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, and reminded customers to ‘be respectful to those who do not feel comfortable.’

That email, though, resulted in further backlash — this time from those who wanted to stop wearing their masks.

One customer asked, ‘Have you decided what percentage of people who are ‘uncomfortable’ will continue to dictate protocol for those of us who are done with masks,’ in a redacted copy provided to the Post. 

‘Perhaps 10 percent or less? You really need to know what will allow you to allow the ‘comfortable’ folks to prevail!’ 

Kaner said he could not mandate his employees to get vaccinated and cannot ask customers for proof of vaccination. In this photo from April 2020, a supermarket employee wore a mask, face shield and gloves to fill a bag

Kaner said he could not mandate his employees to get vaccinated and cannot ask customers for proof of vaccination. In this photo from April 2020, a supermarket employee wore a mask, face shield and gloves to fill a bag

Another, however, wrote, ‘I’d rather be safe than sorry, and I think you’re making a mistake’ with the new mask rules. 

‘I’ll continue wearing my mask indoors,’ the customer continues, ‘as I believe any intelligent, well-informed scientifically literate person will do.’

The supermarket chain also received ‘hundreds of emails from customers thanking us for asking people to be courteous and respectful,’ Kaner said.

He previously told the Post that the supermarket chain could not ask customers for proof of vaccinations as ‘we are not a police force,’ and said that when he asked the union that represents his employees, Local 338, whether he could require employees to be vaccinated in order to work at one of the chain’s 14 Manhattan locations or one Bronx location, ‘the union said absolutely not.’  

He said: ‘we will leave it up to the discretion of our employees and customers, giving them the freedom to do what they want to do.’ 

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