You're in the checkout line and turn around to someone with no mask on.. What would you do?

While many things have moved us to online shopping or curbside pick-up, some of us are still choosing to go inside the grocery store. With kids returning full time back to the classroom and more organizations pulling people back to work campuses, COVID-19 cases are starting to rise in different areas across the United States.

Do you take the chance to go shop inside the grocery store? If so, how are you protecting yourself?

Have you created scenarios for encountering the individual who doesn’t social distance in the checkout line? Have you created scenarios for encountering the individual who touches every item before selecting the one to put in their cart?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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I’m still not going in to stores except for a handful that have (and enforce) mask policies.

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In most places, it’s a law to wear face masks in stores and public places now, however there is always that 1 person who has to go against the grain.

I don’t like confrontation.

However, now with Covid + having an autoimmune disease, I’m more vocal.

When people stand too close, even with floor stickers (6 ft apart/stand here), I will simply keep looking behind me to *hint" to move back. Usually the person gets the point.

If it came to it, I would speak up though. So many people I know got covid, I’m hoping not to be another statistic.

I wish people would respect boundaries.


Hi Michele,

Welcome! I completely understand that. If I visit a store, I try to go very early in the morning to beat the rush. I’ve even started doing curbside pick-up with my groceries. I kind of like it to be honest. LOL!


Hi Jillian,

You’re so right. There is always that one person who goes against the grain. I do my best to avoid confrontation at all times. However, I have been a little more vocal in establishing those boundaries to ensure not only my safety, but others as well.

I live in South Dakota, and the cases are increasing scary fast, partly to because there are a lot of mask haters (and they make it known with out even asking sometimes).

I live in a small town, under 2k people, with 1 grocery store. I can usually drive around the block a few times so there’s just one or two other cars in the parking lot.

Although there’s less people in my town’s only grocery store, the prices are crazy high. My normal was to go to the major city 2 or 3 times a month for groceries because it’s cheaper and I’m on food stamps, but now I would rather take an empty store and figure out how to stretch my food money rather than risk a crowded store with over 50% not in masks.

I have been reaching out to a few business’ I hear that strictly enforce masks in store (and correctly worn at all times) to verify this, and working to make a list of ‘safe’ places to visit to share with my immuno-compromised friends if we do need to go shop in person for something other than food items.


Hi Staci!

This is a great idea!

I think one of the biggest things learned during this pandemic is finding creative ways to accomplish day-to-day goals.

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We were at the Co-op to buy groceries and there was a sign that said not to put your purchases on the sliding tray until the person before you in the line was paying for their purchase, so that is exactly what we did. I was putting our bagged groceries back in the cart and the groceries were not even all through the register and some woman started putting her groceries on the counter and the cashier had to point the very obvious sign to her. She quickly went to another line and I thanked the cashier. She said you have no idea how many times I had to do that today, people just don’t seem to care. I wondeer if putting bigger signs all through the store might help?

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Hi Kelly,

I am not really sure. I have found personally that it has been easier for me to just find new ways to communicate social distancing. For example, I sometimes will put my buggy at the beginning and stand there until they have rung up all of my groceries so that no other groceries can be loaded. All we can do is hope that other’s continue to speak up and speak out.

I am not them, and I don’t know their story.
It is not up for me to judge but I will continue to wear mine and maintain 6 feet distance.
I have been in stores where I have seen people get into others faces and yell or confront a person only to have that person start to cry and say that they just ran in with their child to get something really fast and because of their condition cannot wear one.
My silence and lack of judgement keeps my risk of catching a disease from them much lower. Getting into their face and yelling spreads germs much faster. As long as I keep doing what I’m doing, my risk is low and I’m okay with that.
This disease has torn our country apart and I will give that person a quick masked smile and a hello and go on with my day.

I would keep my 6 feet apart. Since the person is behind me, I probably can’t change lines. So, I, would quickly complete my transaction and limit my exposure as much as possible. Oh yes, I always wear my mask.

Hi T.W.,

Thanks for your input. The hope for this scenario is not one of conflict, but that you recognize that these situations may surface and you must be prepared to handle them in a polite and respectful manner. I’m glad your response to this scenario is one of peace and to keep yourself safe.

Hi Lisa, thank you for sharing!

I do everything from my laptop and mobile phones, I don’t want to put my health at risk… I get scare day times whenever my hubby returns from work, I do not want to or wish to contact the virus. I am Vaccinated too.

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I been just buying everything offline these days, But if I seen someone with out a mask on I would just go on my way still wearing mine, as its not for me to say something to the person and start a fight.

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I usually turn back around after pointedly looking at them. Because of course they see my mask.
I don’t confront anyone, because it’s obviously their choice to be a jerk.

Nothing. You do you . If you’re vaccinated you obviously trusted it was protection.The world will move along around you guaranteed. If you can’t stand being in a lineup without a mask on or someone not wearing theirs, perhaps you should stay home in lockdown and have everythibg delivered. That’s he harsh reality of it, it is nobody’s business same as it isn’t if they’re vaccinated or not either. As was before and this is no different. For a virus with a survival rate of what 99.7%, I would concentrate on building an immune system and supporting gettig back to normal. Masks didn’t protect from spread hand washing and immune system is paramount. If you’re at the age of being the most affected by serious disease or have existing comorbidities or are immune compromised as was before you need to take extra care.

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Honestly…Nothing. I don’t know their story. I don’t know their reasons for not wearing a mask, nor is it my business. I am considered high risk/immunocompromised.

We locked down most of the spring and some of summer last year. By August I was frustrated I hadn’t seen my partner in months (we’re currently LDR). So I traveled to his house. My mental health and that of my son is priority for me. Staying locked in was causing issues, and by end of the summer, I decided it was best we resume our activities and live (while being cautious).

I personally don’t feel it’s right to judge someone else for not wearing one. The mask has exacerbated some of my health issues (per MY medical team). However, I wear it simply because I don’t want rude comments from others, which is an awful situation to be in.

I see it frequently now and my town including my OWN PCP AND HIS EVTIRE FAMILY HAVE COVID-19!!! He sent me a message on Friday about other things I asked and he told me to STAY OUT OF THE COMMUNITY UNLESS IT WAS VER URGENT!!! I still wear mine everywhere and as of now I would tell them what I was told and let them know they should REALLY BE WEARING A MASK! If they told me they had the vaccines and booster I would say SO DO I AND MY DOCTOR BUT YOU CAN STILL GET IT!!!

Depending on how large your community is & what kind of area you live in, it may be impractical to ask your doctor & every single person in his family to ‘just stay home’.

They have to get their groceries somehow, medicines & other necessaries too, keep their bills paid in a timely manner. Which they might not happen to have had on hand when they got infected.

It’s not good to be sitting at home starving or eating unhealthily, needing your medicine(s), power or other services switched off (sweltering or freezing in the dark, losing any food in your fridge & freezer after 48 hours of no electricity, unable to call for help or use the Internet for self help), bills unpaid and now newly sick with COVID (or monkeypox which is also spreading) on top of all that.

You don’t know what their income situation is, while most people believe doctors are ‘rich’, a lot of doctor & healthcare professional friends of mine who do very admirable public minded medicine & are vital community assets struggle with their medical school debt & other education bills not being paid off & have carried their education financial burden for years, sometimes decades. And their employers weren’t great pre pandemic, they might have foregone the big bucks of elective medicine (if it’s not usually covered by health insurance, it pays well, if it’s necessary, it’s likely to be covered by Medicare & Medicaid who pay very little) to try to help people while their employers are out to make lots of money in a very short time for a very few people while screwing everyone else.

If your doctor or other health care providers don’t work, they don’t eat.

Plus they may be too ‘rich’ to get temporary help which increasingly no longer exists because many of those federal government pandemic ‘emergency’ programs running out of funding & not being extended thanks to our chaotic federal government who can’t seem to get along with one another or model the good behaviors of public health (getting vaccinated & boosted as recommended, staying home when sick, masking up & social distancing when they do go out) because they’ve been devalued for the votes & the grafts & grifts. It serves their short term political interests to act like ‘COVID is over’ when it’s getting worse YET AGAIN (What wave are we on, I’ve lost count) because people refused to act early, swiftly & ruthlessly to contain SARS-CoV2 when that was possible. It’s utter chaos & it will be with us for years & decades to come.

And if they’re a rural doctor or health care provider, that leaves a lot of their patients without vital health services & their patients may have to go very far to get to another doctor or health care provider. They might or might not have internet access &/ smartphones, tablets or computers plus what health issues they need to have treated & managed, they might not be able to do via a remote tele-health appointment.

All of this is hard to do without reliable transportation &/or money to pay for it or good reliable cell phone & Internet access & compatible functioning devices. Some places don’t have affordable public transportation options (like busses & subways), some people live in food & pharmacy desserts, many areas are not ‘walkable’ & even if they are, what if your health issues or disability makes it impossible to get around by yourself?

Not to mention the many doctors & health care providers who are retiring early or otherwise quitting because their work situations have gotten so bad (if financially they can do so, I can’t say that I blame them, they didn’t deserve how badly they were treated, especially these past few years & having had their lives & own health endangered).

And some of those doctors & health care providers are newly dead of COVID or are dealing with Long COVID & PICS themselves, the latter seems to get better, but it means for some major recovery after hospitalization for & recovery & rehabilitation from serious illnesses, the former is chronic & ongoing & difficult to figure out.

I have several friends who have had Long COVID now for going on a few years because they got infected very early, before any vaccines became available & it seems to be their lot in life to keep struggling with COVID. Yet neither are categories you can easily add to your profile here so you too can raise awareness & do advocacy (best I not get back on that topic again before I get this thread ignored for weeks, silenced, & then locked too).

The doctors & health care professionals & their immediate families may not have extended family or friends free to run their vital necessary to life errands for them so they can isolate & reduce opportunities to infect others.

And some people are essential, you can’t replace the food you need at the grocery store if the store doesn’t have employees to work there or truckers to bring them food or plant workers & farmers, ranchers & growers to raise, make & process it. Many of them have also died or gotten debilitated or now have to deal with a family member or friend who has died or gotten debilitated. I live in an agricultural area & I hear regularly about people dead from COVID or debilitated by Long COVID, PICS & other new to them health issues. The chicken & meat processing plants here killed & debilitated a lot of people who weren’t doing well, treated well or paid very much pre-pandemic. I don’t blame them for refusing to go back to working there.

Most people are very focused on themselves in our culture & have been so for decades pre-COVID. They have the tiniest circle of family (if they have any at all, 25% of American households right now are just 1 person living by themselves alone & those numbers are going up, not down). They have just a few friends (their lives are over scheduled & their friends may not live nearby or have free time & resources to help, it’s been bad for decades, COVID only exacerbated this). They might not know their neighbors all that well (if at all), plus they just may not have any neighbors or friends who can drop everything in their lives & pitch in to help for free.

If they live in a rural area like I do & are transportation challenged as I am at the moment & also on a very fixed income (for the 1st time in my life) & have outlived my immediate family save for the person who I care-give solo full time & with the absolute minimum of help & he cannot be left alone thanks to his health issue (he has dementia, he’s in advanced enough illness that we finally qualify for Medicare hospice at home, we are fighting for better coverage for him a Vietnam veteran via the VA’s home hospice care so I might get 10 hours of help each week from an in home certified nursing assistant, right now I get 3 baths a week for him plus an hour’s visit from the hospice nurse).

When my car was working, I would take the 90 minutes weekly Dad was visited by his hospice volunteer to race to town & through the grocery shopping, but that was pre-pandemic & now Dad’s volunteer stays home because he’s older & doesn’t want to risk getting COVID). Obviously it’s a struggle for me to just get anywhere to do the absolute minimum to run my life right now. Supply chain issues exacerbate my transportation issues (I’ve been waiting on a part to fix my car for months).

I now literally have to call a taxi to take me anywhere. There used to be just 1 young woman who was the sole Uber driver for my county of 42,000 people (geographically it’s very big because people here grow your poultry, chickens & turkeys, there’s also some apple raising though that is disappearing & all that takes a lot of land to do). A few months ago she quit driving for hire after being sexually assaulted by one of her fares she drove in the nearest large city about an hour’s drive from here. She’s now in truck driving school & separated because her infertility issues proved to be too big a strain on her marriage plus there are signs her husband is abusive & moving into domestic violence against her though her family & his are pressuring them to stay together due to their religious beliefs. She has to have a service dog with her at all times thanks to the PTSD she now lives with from the assault.

And now my cab rides have recently become unaffordable due to inflation (gas prices up, my cab driver increased his rates & also charges me if he has to wait while I get the food I need at my local food pantry or while I grocery shop with brand new to me SNAP/EBT benefits (the tiny bit of paid work I was doing pre-pandemic from home finally disappeared).

It is 6 miles 1 way to my closest grocery store, I don’t have a bike I can ride to get groceries & get them back home (I’m saving up for an e-bike). I might just sell my car because then I’d have transportation that works (if it isn’t snowing or raining here). There’s no bus service out this far (it’s farm land, I live on a gravel, unpaved road so I can’t just get any old bicycle to ride), the new county bus only serves the people living in the small towns (6 total, biggest one has not quite 5000 people living in it), it’s more of one of those airport shuttle-type vans. I think I’m 5 miles away from the nearest stop, I’d have to walk to get to that & there are no sidewalks because it’s farm land. Not a suburb or city or town. And walk back 5 miles with groceries.

I also don’t live in an area serviced by Door Dash or delivery & even if I did, you can’t use SNAP/EBT to pay your grocery delivery costs. I can get some things shipped to me at home (UPS / USPS) by some new pilot programs for SNAP/EBT but nothing like fresh foods that need refrigeration or freezing because those are not offered in my area through Amazon or Wal-Mart (the only companies near me participating in the pilot program of distance grocery shopping). Even if they were, my extremely limited funds are committed to other expenses (did you know SNAP/EBT doesn’t cover basic multivitamins? I didn’t until recently. But I can get a gift basket that is at least 50% edible content (processed & junk foods & candy) paid for with SNAP/EBT. And I get 50% off discounted Amazon Prime so I can watch TV shows while I crave having healthy fresh fruit & vegetables to eat to keep me healthy, too bad binge watching isn’t nutritious & does nothing to fix my transportation issues).

So while of course I want people to stay away from others & when they have to be out in public to keep their distance & to wear masks, get vaccinated & boosted as recommended (I am short my last booster shot because again transportation issues to get to the county health department to get it, that’s 15 miles 1 way from home) I’m a realist & I know they won’t. They won’t sacrifice for even their own families & friends if they are still privileged enough to have them, they’re not going to do any thing for me when I’m a random stranger they already abandoned years ago when Dad got dementia & I had to drop out of society to give him care. I don’t have the time or energy to go be a good friend because of caregiving, ditto to working outside our home. Pandemic just made that even truer.

Best of luck everybody because that’s what it all is now: a matter of luck. You have to be your own calvary because no one else is coming to help you.