Target and CVS Join Walmart and Sam's Club to Require Customers to Wear Face Masks in Stores

Walmart and Sam's Club's new face mask policy will go into effect starting July 20


Some of the United States' largest retailers are requiring customers to wear face masks inside their stores amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

After Walmart and Sam's Club announced on Wednesday that a mask or face covering will be required for shoppers across all of their U.S. locations, Target and CVS are now following suit and requiring coverings to be worn as well.

Beginning Aug. 1, Target will require customers, except those with underlying medical conditions and young children, to wear face coverings, according to a Thursday update to its coronavirus response page.

The retailer giant notes that they will be providing disposable masks at store entrances to guests who do not already have one and will add signage and play overhead audio reminders to remind guests to wear their masks. They will also staff team members at store entrances to make sure shoppers follow the orders.

Retail Sales, Chicago, USA
M. Spencer Green/AP/REX/Shutterstock

In a similar move, CVS announced that beginning Monday they will also be requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of their stores throughout the country.

"Since the pandemic began, we've done everything we can to keep people safe and healthy," CVS Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts wrote in a statement. "This includes requiring that store employees wear face coverings and encouraging our customers to do so as well. In any community with state or local laws mandating the use of face coverings, we've made that very clear through signage and other reminders."

He continued, "With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country."

"To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer. What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering."

CVS Pharmacy

Walmart and Sam's club previously announced their face mask requirements on Wednesday and are set to enforce them on Monday as well.

Dacona Smith, the chief operating officer of Walmart U.S., and Sam’s Club Chief Operating Officer Lance de la Rosa said in a company blog post that the new policy will "bring consistency across stores and clubs" as 65 percent of Walmart and Sam's Club stores are located in areas where some form of government mandate on face coverings have already been established.

In addition to the new requirement, Walmart will be employing a "Health Ambassador" that will be stationed near the store entrance to remind shoppers to wears their masks inside the store.

As for Sam's Club, the membership-only retailer said they will be providing complimentary masks to shoppers should they not have one when entering the store.

Walmart masks
Masked shoppers at Walmart. Al Bello/Getty

"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," the company blog post read. "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."

Similarly, Kohl's announced on Wednesday that customers will be required to wear a face covering at its stores starting July 20.

Meanwhile, Kroger said its new face mask policy for customers will go into effect starting July 22.

"With the increase in #COVID19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus. Starting July 22, we will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask, joining our associates who continue to wear masks," the company said in a statement.

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Other national chains who have implemented mask requirements include Starbucks, Costco, Apple, Dollar Tree and Best Buy.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement earlier this week. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

As of Friday July 17, there are more than 3,588,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with at least 138,200 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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