RICHMOND, Va.-- Companies like Walmart and CVS will now require customers to wear masks while shopping.
In order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, retailers are starting to enforce the policy after weeks of debate on whether or not masks are necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advocated for the use of masks and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has asked Virginians to wear masks while visiting indoor businesses.
In a statement, the National Retail Federation has expressed that with big named companies like Walmart joining in on the requirement, that it will not only help with stopping the spread of the virus but also protect employees.
"Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.."
Starting July 20
BJ's Wholesale Club
The retailer as of July 20 requires facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose while shopping at its locations, with children under 2 exempt. Those who don't want to wear a mask can shop online.
The pharmacy giant requires all customers wear face coverings at its 9,900-plus stores across the country as of July 20. "To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer," its COO stated.
The retailer will require customers to wear a face covering in its stores as of July 20. Greeters will be posted at store entrances to remind people of the requirement, which won't apply to those unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, the company said.
Like its parent company. Walmart, the wholesale club requires customers to wear masks at its 599 locations as July 20, with associates posted at entrances to remind shoppers of the requirement and offer complimentary masks.
The nation's largest private employer, with 1.5 million workers in the U.S., requires all shoppers to wear a face covering as of July 20, at its 4,753 U.S. stores. Walmart "health ambassadors" in black polo shirts are stationed at entrances to facilitate the process, the company said.
Later this week:
The largest grocery store chain in the U.S. will require masks in all of its locations as of July 22. Small children are exempt, and those who can't comply due to a medical condition should use alternatives such as face shields or use pickup or delivery services.
The supermarket chain requires all customers to wear face coverings at its 1,252 stores as of July 21, exempting small children and those with medical conditions who are unable to wear masks.
Target requires all shoppers, except small children and those with underlying health conditions, to wear masks as of August 1. More than 80% of the chain's 1,800 stores already require masks due to local and state regulations.
Best Buy and Starbucks required customers to wear facemasks on July 15. The order for Starbucks only applies at company-owned cafes. At cafes where a local government mandate is not in place, customers without masks can order at a drive-thru, curbside pickup or have Starbucks delivered.
In May, Costco mandated workers and customers to wear masks at all of its 547 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.
A majority of retailers have exempted small children and those with certain medical conditions from wearing masks.
Other retailers will be providing complimentary masks in case you forget yours and also offer curbside pick up.