ROCHESTER, Minn. - If you’ve made a trip to Menards lately, you’ve likely noticed the company is taking a strong stance on keeping you safe. However, not all customers are happy with the decision.
A viral video surfaced this past week with an Indiana couple being given the option to purchase and wear a mask, or to leave the store. The home improvement chain had pre-existing social distancing guidelines but stepped it up by saying all customers must wear a mask or facial covering.
KIMT News 3 reached out to the Menards corporate offices on Friday which declined to comment on camera, but quickly sent the following statement in regards to its social distancing policy:
“We have 6-foot social distancing signs all over the store including department desks and checkouts, plus 6-foot distance floor markings in the checkout lanes. We are asking all customers and employees to wear a mask while inside our store. We encourage people to wear their own mask, but if someone doesn’t have a mask, we have a limited number of 3-layer facemasks available for purchase for one dollar while supplies last. We’re simply trying to keep our store as a safe place for all.”
Jonas Dean says he visits the store multiple times a week and was surprised when he was told he had to wear a facial covering.
“There was a guard there and I came in and they stopped me and I said, ‘Oh, I’m here all the time” and they said no, this just went into place today – you need to have a mask.”
With his sense of humor intact, he complied.
“I went out to my vehicle and I put a t-shirt around my face and I came back in the store kind of to make a point,” Dean said.
Customers like Dean have said some of the guards enforcing the new policy have been armed.
In a statement, Menards told KIMT it has contracted a security company to help with the enforcement but says guards are in short supply. When the company runs out of unarmed guards, they will sometimes send one who is armed.
Customers say they feel this is highly unnecessary because other stores are not following suit.
“I think we should be safe but I also don’t necessarily think we should be forced or be babysat into wearing something,” Dean added.
In regards to armed guards, the statement from Menards says the following:
“Being armed is not a service request we ask for.” The statement continues on “It’s comforting that the temporary guards at our stores are highly trained just in case they’re needed.”
The company is working toward applying this policy at all of its stores.