Food Lion reverses policy after telling US veteran to remove American flag face covering, will now allow it

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Saturday, September 5, 2020
Air Force veteran says he quit job over US flag policy
An Air Force veteran said he quit his job in Havelock, North Carolina, when he was told he could not wear an American flag face covering.

HAVELOCK, N.C. -- The grocery store chain Food Lion is changing its policy after an Air Force veteran quit his job in Havelock, North Carolina.

Gary Dean, 69, quit over what he saw as an anti-American policy. After doing so for months, Dean was told he could no longer wear his American flag face covering.

Managers told him that corporate was enforcing its rule that face coverings could not have writing, insignias or symbols on them. That meant the Stars and Stripes was against the company's dress code.

"As a veteran, my dad being a World War II hero, my best friend killed in Vietnam, out of respect for them I can't just say no, I'll take my flag and put it in my pocket," Dean explained. "I had to quit, out of principle."

That was earlier this week. Food Lion even released a statement initially defending its policy.

However, on Friday, after Dean's story had made its rounds across the country, Food Lion changed its tune.

"While we continue to maintain our uniform standards requiring associates to wear masks without writing, insignia or symbols, we will allow associates to wear masks with the American flag that meet this standard," the company said in a social media post.

It's unclear if Dean will go back to his job in Havelock after this policy change.

Editor's note: The video in this article is from the initial story and has not been updated to reflect the policy change.