County public health urges mask usage at grocery stores

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Many customers and workers alike at grocery stores in Otter Tail County, such as at Service Food Market in Fergus Falls, are wearing face masks in response to the coronavirus. (Photo by Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent)

FERGUS FALLS -- County Public Health Director Jody Lien, speaking to county commissioners on Tuesday, April 14, urged workers and customers alike at county grocery stores to wear face masks in response to the coronavirus.

That same day Minnesota Public Radio online news reported that many Minnesota grocers have equipped their employees with not only face masks but also with hand sanitizers.

“Our county health department is reviewing Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration and Minnesota Department of Agriculture resources to define our local guidance,” Lien said.

“Our overall goal will be to support and educate our grocers on minimizing their exposure risk as best they can.”

Minnesota Public Radio online news also reported that many grocers have also deployed plastic screens between customers and cashiers.


In many grocery stores around the state there are marked floors to show customers where to stand. Some stores limit how many customers can be in the store at any given time.

“The main way the disease (COVID-19) spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing,” Lien said. “That’s why we emphasize social distancing of at least 6 feet.”

After a person catches COVID-19, his or her lungs and airways can swell and become inflamed.

Jody Lien

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