Walmart, Sam’s Club Requires All Customers to Wear Face Masks Starting July 20
All Walmart and Sam's Club stores will require shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20, in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Stores will also have a single entrance to help ensure consistency.
"According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance," Chief Operating Officers Dacona Smith and Lance de la Rosa wrote in a statement Wednesday.
Some employees will take on the newly created role of 'health ambassador.' They will be stationed near the entrance to remind anyone entering the store about the new mask requirement.
"We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20," the company said.
"We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering. 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," the store leaders wrote.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidance on cloth face coverings, saying a mask "may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others."
"COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting or singing.) These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs," the CDC said.
"Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others. Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants)," the agency explained.
"Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventative measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces," the CDC added.
The Walmart and Sam's Club operating officers, in their statement, reminded customers that those who can wear a face covering but choose not to place employees -- many of whom are considered 'frontline' workers who have had to continue reporting to their jobs amid the pandemic -- at risk.
"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," they said.