Tough Questions for Big Tech C.E.O.s

No mask, no service? Many big retailers have announced rules that customers must wear masks when shopping, as meticulously tracked by T...


Many big retailers have announced rules that customers must wear masks when shopping, as meticulously tracked by The Times’s Gillian Friedman. But however explicitly a company’s policy is worded, enforcement is another issue. In an eye-opening story out today, The Times’s Michael Corkery found that major companies are taking a decidedly hands-off approach.

It’s often up to rank-and-file employees to enforce mask policies, and they didn’t sign up for this. Chains like Walgreens and Walmart say that employees shouldn’t bar maskless customers from entering a store or refuse them service once inside. This muddles the “mandatory” mask-wearing edict, creating opportunities for confusion and confrontation.

• It’s akin to Walmart’s policy on bringing guns into its stores: discouraged, but not enforced. Those two policies are colliding, with an 18-year-old Walmart “health ambassador,” who asks customers to put on masks before entering a store in North Carolina, telling Michael that he has noticed more customers carrying guns into the store, giving him extra pause about telling them to put on a mask.

No exceptions? Workers and unions say that companies need to take a stricter stance on masks, either by hiring security guards to refuse entry to unmasked shoppers or insisting that employees refuse service to those not wearing masks and summon a manager to deal with the situation.

• Retailers, then, may end up following the airline industry, which has been making mask rules stricter and leaving less room for interpretation. Southwest now says that only children under the age of 2 are allowed not to wear masks. “The reason we’re doing this is we’re simply seeing too many exceptions to the policy and this put our flight crews in a really tough spot,” said Thomas Nealon, the airline’s president.

Steven Davidoff Solomon, a.k.a. the Deal Professor, is a professor at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law and the faculty co-director at the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy. Here, he runs down the reasons “blank check” companies are making a comeback.

Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are having a moment. They have raised around $19 billion so far this year, already more than in any full year in the past, according to SPAC Analytics.

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Newsrust: Tough Questions for Big Tech C.E.O.s
Tough Questions for Big Tech C.E.O.s
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