Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, and Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket chain, will require customers to wear a mask or face covering to shop in its stores.
According to CNBC, both retailers made separate announcements Wednesday saying the policy will begin next Monday. The announcements come as coronavirus cases continue to rise, putting the U.S. economy at risk, while countries who were quick to use masks enjoy watching sports and other social activities.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies recommend wearing face masks as one of the best methods to protect yourself and others from contracting the coronavirus. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Tuesday the country can put a major dent in the virus in two to three weeks if everyone wears a mask and socially distances.
Walmart, Kroger, and other national retailers have had to deal with different regulations in different states and localities. This has led to a string of incidents between customers who refuse to wear masks and employees who have had to enforce store regulations.
Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club Chief Operating Officer Lance de la Rosa said in a statement the majority of its 5,000 plus locations are in areas where there’s already some form of a government requirement for 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,” said de la Rosa and Smith in a statement.
Smith and de la Rosa added each Walmart will have signs in front of the entrances and in stores.
Smith and de la Rosa said Walmart will post signs, train employees, and create a new role to enforce the policy. The designated employees, called health ambassadors, will get special training and will stand near the entrance wearing black polos. Ambassadors will remind customers about the mask requirement when they walk to the entrance. All stores will use a single entrance.