WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Walmart and Sam's Club have announced that customers will soon be required to wear masks or face coverings when entering any of their stores.
The new requirement will take effect Monday, July 20 across the U.S, Walmart COO Dacona Smith and Sam's Club COO Lance de la Rosa said in a joint statement.
The companies noted that currently about 65% of their locations are in areas where there is some form of local mandate on face coverings, so this new requirement is meant to "help bring consistency across stores and clubs."
"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," Smith and de la Rosa said.
The announcement comes one day after Minnesota-based Best Buy said it would start requiring shoppers where face masks in all its stores. Last week, Starbucks said it will require face coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned US stores.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, plans to have a "Health Ambassador" stationed at the entrance of their stores to remind customers without a mask about the new requirements. According to the announcement, Walmart is "currently considering different solutions" for mask-less customers.
Sam's Club will provide complimentary masks to members, if they don't have one, or they can purchase masks in the store.
"We know some people have differing opinions on this topic," Smith and de la Rosa said. "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."
The companies said they know it "may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering" and workers will be "trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper and make the process as easy as possible for everyone."