July 15 (UPI) -- Walmart announced Wednesday that all shoppers must wear a face covering beginning next week.
Calling the move a "simple step" for safety, the company said the requirement will take effect Monday at all 5,000 Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the United States.
In announcing the rule, Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith and Sam's Club counterpart Lance de la Rosa cited existing local government mandates that already order face coverings at about 65 percent Walmart and Sam's Club locations.
"This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols," they wrote in a joint statement.
"This is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities."
Walmart joins a growing list of major retailers that now mandate face coverings. Starbucks and Best Buy began requiring masks Wednesday.
Others that have already imposed rules requiring face coverings include Costco, Apple, Walgreens, Kroger, CVS, Gap and Verizon.