Walmart, McDonald’s, and other major companies now require customers to wear masks (updated)

walmart companies that require masks
Photo via Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the U.S, large corporations have moved to require face coverings in all of their locations. Walmart and Starbucks are just the latest companies that require masks in their stores to combat the coronavirus.

Other retailers and companies that require masks include Apple, Costco, Best Buy, Kroger, Kohl’s, Target, and CVS. Because the U.S. does not have a blanket face coverings mandate, the retailer’s policies differ from how they plan to enforce the mandate. 

Starting July 20, Walmart Inc. will require all shoppers to wear masks at all 5,300 locations nationwide and at all Sam’s Club locations. 

In a statement released on July 15, Walmart said it hopes the new mandate will “bring consistency across stores and clubs,” since only 65% of its stores are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings.

“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,” the statement said. 

To help enforce the new mandate, Walmart said all stores will only have one entrance. Additionally, they’ve hired “Health Ambassadors” to stand at the front door and remind shoppers to wear a mask. The stores will provide a complimentary mask to anyone who doesn’t have one. 

The day after Walmart announced its mask mandate, CVS and Target announced their own, USA Today reported. Target’s mandate will begin on Aug. 1, with employees supplying customers with disposable masks if needed. 

In a statement, CVS announced its mandate will begin July 20. CVS Health Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts said employees would not be asked to enforce the mandate, however. 

“To be clear, we’re not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer,” Roberts said. “What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering.” 

Kohl’s will also begin enforcing a mask policy on July 20. Its statement on the new policy said greeters will be stationed at entrances to implement the mandate. 

Best Buy and Starbucks began requiring masks in stores across the country on July 15. The coffee company said in a statement that those who don’t want to wear a mask can buy coffee in alternative ways, “including ordering at the drive-thru, curbside pickup through the Starbucks app, or placing an order for delivery through Starbucks Delivers.”

Retailers aren’t the only national companies that have moved to announce their own mask mandates In May, Uber and Lyft also announced that both drivers and riders must wear a mask. 

On Aug. 1, those who visit McDonald’s for a meal also will have to wear a mask. There are more than 14,000 U.S. locations for the fast-food staple. Beginning on July 31, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Homegoods also began requiring masks.

As of July 15, only 24 states enforce a mask mandate, according to CNN. Many government officials continue to tout that mask mandates infringe on individual freedoms. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) went as far as forbidding counties and cities from mandating face coverings on July 15. 

Despite defiance against masks politically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doubled down on urging Americans to wear masks. In a statement released on July 14, the CDC said it “reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19.” 

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in the statement. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus—particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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Sources: Walmart, USA Today, CVS, Kohl’s, Starbucks, CNN, Washington Post, CDC 

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