Public Media for Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

AC Requiring Customers To Wear Face Masks

Dean Swope

If you are headed to the grocery store in Bethel, be sure to bring a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Alaska Commercial is requiring its customers at both the main store and the convenience store to wear masks and keep their distance from other shoppers.

Walt Pickett, general manager of the state’s AC stores, said that AC had been waiting for a shipment of surgical masks for their employees to use before requiring customers to use masks and face coverings in the stores; the masks arrived April 8. He expects the rule to go into effect immediately. Pickett says that it's important to protect the staff and the customers from COVID-19.

This week, six major Bethel organizations, including the Lower Kuskokwim School District, Bethel Native Corporation, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, sent a letter to Bethel stores asking them to require customers to wear masks. The letter said that with the town now seeing its first case of COVID-19, "community spread" is now possible.

The letter noted that "retail stores in Bethel are high-traffic areas, and this additional safety measure could help slow the spread of the virus and protect residents and employees."