Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger and Kohl's shoppers nationwide will soon be required to wear a face covering.
The grocery and retail chains announced their decisions Wednesday. Walmart and Sam's Club was first; its mandate goes into effect Monday, July 20.
In a press release from Walmart COO Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club COO Lance de la Rosa, the reason for implementing the mandatory safety measure was stated as a way to “help bring consistency across stores and clubs” as the number of COVID-19 cases and face covering mandates increased across the country. Prior to Walmart’s decision, about 65% of its more than 5,000 stores and clubs were located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings. According to the CDC, face coverings help slow the spread of COVID-19. To better enforce the new rule, Walmart also announced all stores would be limited to one entrance.
“We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering,” the officials stated. “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... 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."
Kroger and Kohl's officials cited similar reasons when they announced their respective mandates. Like Walmart, the mask requirement at Kohl's begins Monday. Kroger's mandate begins Wednesday, July 22.