Food Lion Changes Face Covering Policy After Veteran Wearing American Flag Mask Quits

William Howard /

Adam Barnes General Assignment Reporter
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Food Lion publicly updated its employee face covering guidelines Saturday after an Air Force veteran resigned his position when he was told he could not wear his American flag face mask.

The grocery chain’s previous policy prohibited associates from wearing any “clothing with writing, insignia or symbols,” and 69-year-old Gary Dean quit his job because the company decision did not reflect his values, according to WECT 6, N.C. (Related: US Veteran Says He Was Told He Could Not Wear American Flag Face Covering, Quits His Job)

The updated policy, which Food Lion posted on Twitter Saturday morning, said that the company “deeply respects the American flag” and associates could wear masks portraying the flag if they met the requirement that it does not include “writing insignia or symbols.”

Food Lion also released a longer statement clarifying its decision.

“Food Lion has the utmost respect for the American flag and has a proud, long history of partnering with and supporting military organizations and communities,” the company said in a statement. “Over the past few days, we have been listening to our associates and customers about Food Lion’s mask policy as part of our uniform standards.”

“However, all face coverings must adhere to standards set by the company and communicated to each of our more than 77,000 associates. The policy prohibits associates from wearing clothing with writing, insignia or symbols. The dress code is meant to ensure a consistent and professional representation of our associates inside of our stores,” the policy added, according to the report.