Many U.S. retailers to begin requiring masks for shoppers on Monday

Several major U.S. retailers, including Walmart and Walgreens, will not allow shoppers into stores without a facial mask or covering, beginning Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Several major U.S. retailers, including Walmart and Walgreens, will not allow shoppers into stores without a facial mask or covering, beginning Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 20 (UPI) -- Starting Monday, customers will have to wear a mask or face covering if they visit a number of retailers nationwide.

The stores have put rules in place mandating masks in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease, which has grown in several states in recent weeks.


Walmart and Sam's Club

The national chain said last week it's imposing the mask rule as a "simple" safety step.

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The new requirement will apply to customers at all 5,000 Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the United States.

Walmart also said it's created the role of "health ambassador," an employee who will be stationed near the entrance to further remind customers of safety requirements.

The company noted that the ambassadors will receive special training to make the process "as smooth as possible."

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The company, which also owns Sam's Club, said the same procedure would be followed at Sam's Club stores and complimentary masks will be provided to shoppers who do not have one.

Walgreens and CVS

Like Walmart, pharmaceutical chains Walgreens and CVS will impose a mask rule for thousands of locations nationally.

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"Since the pandemic began, we've done everything we can to keep people safe and healthy. This includes requiring that store employees wear face coverings and encouraging our customers to do so as well," CVS Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts said last week.


"We're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country."

"We support the new CDC guidance that urges the use of face covers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," Kevin Ban, Walgreens chief medical officer, added in a statement. "As cases continue to rise in many parts of the country, it's critical we, as businesses and members of the community, do everything we can."


The national home improvement chain said it will provide free masks at the customer service desk of every store, while supplies last.

"We have a responsibility to our associates, customers and small businesses in communities nationwide to help provide a safe shopping experience," said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe's president and CEO, said in a statement last week.


"As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, face covering mandates have grown to apply to approximately 70% of our store base, therefore we've made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet," the chain said. "Beginning Monday ... we will require all customers to wear a face covering while shopping in our stores.

"This mask requirement does not apply to individuals unable to wear a mask for medical reasons."


Kohl's said it will have store employees "welcome shoppers and remind them to wear masks."


The grocery store chain will impose the rule at its more than 250 locations in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois.


Other chains imposing a mandatory mask rule on Monday are BJ's Wholesale Club, Dierbergs Markets and Schnuck Markets. Home Depot, Publix, Kroger and Target plan to do so later this week.

Starbucks, Best Buy and Costco have previously implemented mandatory mask policies.

The changes Monday will be marked by clear signage at store entrances to inform customers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said last week that universal mask usage is key to containing the pandemic in the United States.

"I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask over the next four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control," he said.

As of Friday, more than 28 states had issued state-wide mandates requiring the use of masks while in public, while many smaller county and local governments have implemented their own measures, according to ABC News.

President Donald Trump, who has often resisted wearing a mask in public, told Fox News Sunday he would not issue a nationwide mask mandate, saying he wants to allow "a certain freedom" and would leave the decision to state and local leaders.


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