Beginning on Tuesday, April 14, The Fresh Market grocery stores will require customers to wear face masks while in the store.

An announcement was posted on The Fresh Market website,, on Sunday, April 12, informing customers of this new policy.

On Monday, April 13 at 5 p.m., more stringent rules for retail stores statewide were put in place by Gov. Roy Cooper. The new executive order from Cooper requires stores to limit the number of people in the store to 20 percent of the stated fire capacity or five people for every 1,000 square feet. It also requires shields at the cash register, and for areas where people congregate such as check out areas to be marked with six-foot intervals to assist people in keeping their social distance.

The executive order also requires the aisles in stores to be marked as one-way, once again to assist people in keeping the social distancing requirements.

The executive order does not require people to wear face masks.

The Fresh Market had previously required its employees in stores to wear face masks and now is expanding that to customers. According to the notice from The Fresh Market, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently updated its guidance regarding face masks, recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

The notice about requiring face masks for customers states, “This new protocol is in accordance with the CDC’s [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] latest recommendations.”

And notes, “The CDC has instructions for how to make your own cloth face covering, which can be found here.”

According to the notice, Fresh Market stores are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, and from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every day is reserved for seniors and other individuals defined as most at risk by the CDC.