Beginning July 20, Walmart will require all customers to wear face coverings inside its stores, the company announced Wednesday.
“As the number of confirmed cases has spiked in communities across the country recently, so have the number and types of face covering mandates being implemented,” the retailer said in a news release.
“To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20.”
Walmart’s mask requirement exceeds the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control, which encourages everyone to “wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public,” but has not implemented a compulsory federal mask mandate.
To best serve our communities and protect the health and safety of our shoppers and associates, face coverings will be required in all stores beginning Monday, July 20. For more on our decision and policy, please see here: https://t.co/r2ijRqslNP pic.twitter.com/pKYQCzk48l
— Walmart (@Walmart) July 15, 2020
The mandate will also be implemented at Sam’s Club locations. (Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart.)
“At Sam’s Clubs, associates at the entrance will follow the same process with members, politely reminding them of our requirement to wear a face covering when shopping with us,” the news release said.
“Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one. Or members can purchase masks in the club.”
Walmart’s mandate comes as 37 states have reported an increasing number of positive coronavirus cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University database.
More than 3.3 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and over 136,000 have died.
The retailer’s new mandate follows similar policies from companies including Starbucks, Best Buy and Costco, who mandated masks as early as May, CNN reported.
Mask-wearing has become an increasingly hot-button issue across the United States, as some retailers have been reluctant to enforce the measure over fears of driving away shoppers who refuse to wear them, according to CNN.
Multiple confrontations have arisen in the U.S. between retail employees and customers not wearing masks.
In Flint, Michigan, a security guard was fatally shot after insisting a customer wear one, according to The New York Times.
Both the Retail Leaders Industry Association and the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union have called on governors across the country to adopt statewide mask mandates, according to CNN.
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