Single mom: Menards’ ban on kids is discriminatory

Coronavirus

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A single mother in Kent County is calling for Menards to reconsider a policy that prevented her from shopping with her kids on Mother’s Day. 

“As soon as the doors opened, I was approached by … an employee in a mask … and she said, ‘You can’t shop here with your kids.’ And I was just like, ‘What?’ And she said, ‘We’re not allowing children in at this point,'” Neisa, who asked to be identified only by her first name, told News 8 Monday. 

She said she and her two kids were attempting to buy supplies for a Mother’s Day craft. They were all wearing masks, which Menards is also requiring as part of its COVID-19 response policies. 

Neisa contacted News 8 after deciding to shop elsewhere. She wasn’t comfortable leaving her kids in the car and they’re too young to be home alone, she said.

“That really upset me because I was like, wow, OK. I’m a single parent trying to make today cool when we can’t go anywhere,” Neisa said. “I just hope they change it because I really do feel like it’s prejudice. They’re taking it too far.”

Both in stores and online, Menards has posted a notice that states, “We are no longer able to allow children under the age of 16, nor pets, in the store due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Service pets are still allowed. The posting goes on to say people who look under 16 will be asked to show identification. 

Online, Menards recommends parents consider ordering online and picking up in store.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus say that “individuals should limit, to the maximum extent that is safe and feasible, the number of household members who leave the home for any errands.” The orders do not explicitly order stores to temporarily ban children. 

Neisa said she agrees with limiting the amount of people you’re shopping with, but that’s not always possible as a single parent. 

“I completely agree with that,” she said. “But there’s nowhere in her order stating that a store should be allowed to stop a single parent from being able to shop there and that is pretty much what it felt like. It felt like, you don’t have a choice, you have children and therefore you can’t shop here.”

News 8 reached out to Menards for an explanation behind the policy and to the governor’s office seeking a response to the company’s move. Neither had responded to requests for comment as of early Monday evening. 

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