As COVID-19 cases continue to mount, Target will begin requiring shoppers to wear face masks.
The Minneapolis-based retailer’s requirement will go into effect on Aug. 1. For shoppers who do not arrive with face coverings, Target will provide disposable masks at store entryways. The company said more than 80% of its stores had already required customers to wear masks in accordance with state and local guidance. To remind customers to wear masks, Target plans to place employees at store entrances as well as add signage and audio prompts in store.
Target’s announcement comes one day after big-box rival Walmart announced a face covering requirement across all 5,000-plus of its units, which will go into effect on Monday, July 20. Kohl’s also revealed on Wednesday that it would require shoppers to wear face coverings. As cases spike in states such as Texas, Florida and California, CVS, Best Buy and Starbucks are among the other big names who have implemented mask policies in recent days. Costco, meanwhile, enacted a mandate across all its stores back in May.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said Tuesday that if everyone in the country started wearing a mask now, the virus could get under control in 4 to 8 weeks. The CDC has recommended the use of face masks in public settings and around people who don’t live in one’s household, particularly when other social-distancing measures are tough to maintain.
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In a letter addressed to President Donald Trump last week, the American Apparel and Footwear Association — which represents more than 1,000 companies across the United States — urged the leader to institute federal protocols for face masks to assist retailers’ efforts to safely reopen stores to the public.
“As we enter the next stage of our COVID-19 response and recovery, we are confronted with a stark choice,” AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar wrote. “If we do not require widespread use of face masks in enclosed public spaces, we will likely endure additional widespread business shutdowns.”
The United States has seen the largest COVID-19 outbreak of any country in the world, also recording the most deaths. As of Thursday, there have been more than 3.49 million confirmed cases of the virus, along with over 137,000 fatalities.