Major retailers now requiring masks

By Tami Stevenson

It was announced last week that the largest retailer chain in the nation, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, would require masks be worn by its customers to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Since that announcement, other major retail chains have joined them, and the list continues to grow. Stores like Publix, CVS, Target and Walgreens announced the next day, they were also going to require masks.

The new requirement began Monday, July 20, 2020 for CVS, Walgreens and at Walmart’s 4,753 U.S. stores. Publix began Tuesday, the following day. Target will give their customers until August 1 to prepare for the new requirement.

Lowe’s and Home Depot climbed onboard and announced late Friday they would also be mandating masks. Lowe’s began requiring masks be worn by customers Monday, the same day as Walmart, and Home Depot began July 22.

Winn Dixie however, waited until late Monday to announce that as of July 27, they will also require masks be worn by its customers.
Publix said they will be offering masks for at least the first week to get everyone acclimated to the new rule.

Dacona Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Walmart U.S., and Lance de la Rosa, Chief Operating Officer at Sam’s Club U.S. stated in a combined post on the Walmart website, “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. According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance.”

In addition to posting clear signage at the front of their stores, Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the entrance to remind those without a mask of their new requirements.   

“Our ambassadors will receive special training to help make the process as smooth as possible for customers. The ambassadors, identifiable by their black polo shirts, will work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution. To help ensure consistency with this new process, all stores will have a single entrance.”