Customers shopping at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores nationwide will be required to wear face masks beginning next week due to the threat of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, company officials said Wednesday.
What We Know:
- In a news release, officials said about 65% or more of the company’s 5,000 stores and clubs are in areas where government officials have issued some form a mask mandate.
- The move come just a few days after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said enforcing mask use in stores nationwide was “obviously something that’s on our minds.” The surge of positive cases around the country has led many to reconsider stricter measures once more.
- “We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC,” the retailers’ chief operating officers said in a blog post Wednesday.
- Best Buy, Starbucks and most noticeably Kroger, one of Walmart’s biggest rivals, are among other consumer giants that started requiring consumers nationwide wear masks. A statement issued Wednesday evening by a Kroger spokesperson, just hours after Walmart, urges customers to engage preventive measures such as social distancing and hand washing, along with now mandating masks in their stores.
- Another super store rival, Target, said in a statement Thursday that it will start requiring masks starting August 1 in all stores. “This builds on the more than 80% of our stores that already require guests to wear face coverings due to local and state regulations,” it said. The CVS health company, who operates pharmacies in all major Target store locations, have also joined in mandating masks.
— CVS Health (@CVSHealth) July 16, 2020
- One of the larger rising issues about retailer’s struggles to enforce masks comes with confrontations between customers and employees. Videos around the country of confrontations between angry customers and clerks over these rules have gone viral. Most arguments stem from the belief that the virus is a “hoax” or that wearing a mask impends on their “individual rights.”
- Despite there being no specific federal mandate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to state that everyone “should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.”
Johns Hopkins University has now recorded over 3.4 million cases of COVID-19 have been the U.S. since the pandemic began. The U.S. still leads the world with the most coronavirus cases and the highest number of deaths with over 136,000 killed by the now infamous virus.