Walmart, Best Buy to Start Requiring All Customers to Wear Masks

by Hunter Miller

Major retail stores Walmart and Best Buy now require all customers to wear masks. The two came in as some of the last national chains to require facial coverings.

The change begins next week at Walmart. The announcement comes on the heels of other big companies like Starbucks also implementing masks.

While some stores like Costco began requiring masks months ago, others felt reluctant to antagonize customers that opposed wearing a mask. Also, retailers hoped to avoid enforcing mask requirements on employees.

In a company statement, Walmart cited the uptick in COVID-19 cases for the decision to require masks. “As the number of confirmed cases has spiked in communities across the country recently, so too have the number and types of face-covering mandates being implemented,” the company said.

While the government does not mandate that people wear masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommends them. On the company website, the CDC suggests everyone “wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.” The CDC also emphasizes that “face coverings are meant to protect other people.”

Walmart explained the mask requirement starts this coming Monday. “To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face-covering starting Monday, July 20,” the company stated. “This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage, and train associates on the new protocols.”

Best Buy Requiring Masks Starting July 15

Earlier this week, Best Buy announced plans to require masks in all stores nationwide as well. The company released a statement on the new requirements.

Best Buy first noted that the company plans to give masks for those without one. “We will provide a face covering if a customer doesn’t have one, and small children and those unable to wear one for health reasons may enter without one,” the statement reads. “Any customer who has a concern about wearing a mask will be able to shop Best Buy via our website and app and choose home delivery or contactless curbside pickup, which remains in place at all our stores.”

Last week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter to state governors about wearing masks. RILA represents companies such as Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and other chains, CBS News reports. The association claims the major conflict comes from different sets of rules across the states. The conflict arose between the stores and customers and employees trying to enforce rules. Now, companies like Best Buy and Walmart hope to put an end to the confusion by requiring masks.

[H/T CNN, CBS News]