Walmart to Mandate Face Coverings

Walmart to Mandate Face Coverings

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, will require all shoppers to wear masks at all its Walmart and Sam’s Club’s locations, effective next week.

“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 COO of Walmart Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club COO Lance de la Rosa, said in a press release. “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.”a

The statement noted that 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 move is designed to “to help bring consistency across stores and clubs.”

To help ensure consistency with this new process, all stores will have a single entrance. At Sam’s Club, complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one. At Walmart, the statement said the retailer is “currently considering different solutions” for customers who arrive without a mask.

The executives concluded in the statement, “We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering. Our associates will be trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper and make the process as easy as possible for everyone.

“As we have seen in states and municipalities with mask mandates, virtually everyone either brings a mask or readily complies with the requirement, and we anticipate that to happen in other areas as well. 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. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our customers and members in wearing face coverings to protect their safety and the safety of our associates.”

Other national chains have made similar moves. Starbucks said last week that it will require customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all company-owned US stores beginning Wednesday. Best Buy announced Tuesday that it will also require all shoppers to wear face masks. Costco (COST) began requiring its members to wear masks in stores beginning in May.