Walmart Inc., the country’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, will require all shoppers to wear masks at its more than 5,000 U.S. stores.
As coronavirus cases rise dramatically across the country, the company is making a notable statement with the mandate, which goes into effect on July 20.
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus and priority has been and continues to be on the health and safety of our associates, members and customers,” wrote Dacona Smith, COO of Walmart U.S., and Lance de la Rosa, COO of Sam’s Club in a statement. “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. Currently about 65 percent of our more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings.”
The executives said they will spend the next few days informing customers of the move, posting signage across stores and training associates on the new protocols.
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“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” Smith and De la Rose wrote.
Best Buy and Starbucks are among the other big names who have implemented mask policies in recent days. Costco enacted a mandate back in May.
According to the CDC, 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