c23797fd-5c72-401d-8dfa-ba2b59c38db9-ingles_01(Asheville Citizen-Times) The Centers for Disease Control says face coverings “are a critical tool” against the spread of COVID-19. But to mask or not has become a politically charged question. Most visibly, this powder-keg debate is happening in one of the few places where the public still congregates, the grocery store.

A wave of stores are promising to enforce state and countywide mandates that require customers to wear face coverings, but with media largely shut out and little to no government checks in place, accountability for those policies is virtually impossible.

The Citizen Times asked to observe customer and employee mask compliance at local grocery stores. Almost all refused. Though all of the stores the Citizen Times contacted say they require masks to shop, only the French Broad Food Co-Op said it would allow a reporter to verify the claims.

Read the full story by Mackensy Lunsford, and how local grocery stores responded HERE.