Heads up, Walmart shoppers. The world’s largest retailer is the latest national chain to require all of its customers and employees to wear a face mask. The announcement comes as Starbucks announced they will require all their customers to wear face masks or facial coverings in all 9,000 US stores beginning Wednesday to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Other retailers that announced a face mask policy include Costco, Apple, and Best Buy. Although no federal mandate to wear a mask or face covering exist, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated everyone “should wear a cloth face cover whenever they go out in public.” The CDC also stated that “face coverings are meant to protect other people.”
Most major grocery stores and retailers had hesitated to enact their own mask policies for customers during the coronavirus pandemic, due to fear of antagonizing shoppers who refuse to wear any covering. Several Retailers also noted that they are reluctant to put their employees in the position of enforcing all mask requirements.
But, the requirement of the masks in restaurants and retail industries has shifted in recent weeks as more COVID-19 cases have popped up. More than 3.3 million people have now tested positive for coronavirus nationwide and more than 130,000 people have died. As the cases climb around the country, many states and cities are reimposing restrictions to contain any new outbreaks, which include mask requirements in public settings.
Through a press release, Walmart stated, “As the number of confirmed cases has spiked in communities across the country recently, so too have the number and types of face-covering mandates being implemented. To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face-covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage, and train associates on the new protocols.” Around 65 percent of its more than 5,000 stores, which include its Sam’s Club locations, are located in areas where the government has required face covering.