Commissioner Barfield asks why grocery store isn’t following governor’s recommendations


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New guidelines are introduced what feels like every day.

How to keep safe and effectively social distance in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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On April 13, Governor Roy Cooper recommended stores mark designated entrances and exits. As well as directional arrows in the store to keep customers moving in one direction and prevent crowded aisles.

New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr. was shocked when he discovered Harris Teeter has opted out of following these guidelines.

“This COVID-19 has stretched far and wide. You don’t know who has it, you can’t see it, you can’t touch it but it’s indeed there,” Barfield said.

Barfield explained his experience in a Facebook post that gained a lot of attention, including from Harris Teeter corporate.

In a conference call Wednesday afternoon he shared his concerns.

Part of those concerns, the Publix nearby just confirmed an employee tested positive for the virus.

“So why would you not be doing everything that you could do to prevent this?” Barfield asked.

He says Harris Teeter explained having the signs caused customers to spend more time than necessary in the stores.

“I’d rather spend more time in the store and take the time I need and not come into contact with someone,” Barfield said. “As opposed to bumping into someone that may have COVID-19 and then spending a lot of time trying to get better.”

He says they informed him employees would now be getting masks to wear while working.

Barfield says it’s important for us to look out for one another during this time.

“The old phrase is, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’,” he said. “That’s what I would hope every citizen would think of, especially every corporate citizen in our community.”

When WWAY asked about these concerns, Harris Teeter says the safety of their customers and associates is their top priority.

“The safety and well-being of our valued associates and shoppers is our most urgent and important priority, and we will continue to do everything we can – including continuing to proactively seek out and test ways to better protect our people and communities – to ensure our stores are open, clean and stocked. As an example, just this week we became one of the first retailers to require every store associate to wear a mask in accordance with CDC guidance. Harris Teeter is following all state and local ordinances and implementing above and beyond that which is required and recommended in some cases. For complete details on the precautions Harris Teeter has in place, please visit the COVID-19 landing page located here.”