Walmart announced on Wednesday it will require all customers to wear masks starting July 20.
“To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
“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,” the company said. “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.”
The company says currently about 65 percent of its more than 5000 stores and clubs nationwide are located in areas with some form of government mandate on face coverings.
Along with the new mask mandate, Walmart has created the new role of “Health Ambassador” — employees who will be stationed near store entrances to remind customers of the rule.
“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. We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20.”
At Sam’s Club, employees at entrances will follow the same process with members. Complimentary masks will be provided if the member does not have one, or they can be purchased inside the club.
“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,” Walmart said in its announcement.
Hours after Walmart’s announcement supermarket chain Kroger Co. said it would follow suit starting July 22.
“We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country,” Kroger officials said.