Walmart is getting serious.
According to a statement released this morning, the world’s leading retailer will require all of its shoppers who are able to to wear a mask at all times, starting Monday.
“… about 65% of our more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings,” the statement said.
“To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols.”
All stores also will have only one entrance.
The statement came from Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer, Dacona Smith, and Sam’s Club Chief Operating Officer Lance De La Rosa.
What actions employees will take if a shopper insists on entering a store unmasked were not addressed in the statement.
The company said it is acting in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations, which say anyone older than 2 should be wearing a mask in public, especially when social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
“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.
“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.”
Some employees will be trained as “health ambassadors” who will be stationed near the entrance in black polo shirts “to remind those without a mask of our new requirements” and to “work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution. We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20.”
At Sam’s Clubs, free masks will be provided to members who don’t have one.
“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 statement said.
While the consensus of most Sauk Valley-area Walmart managers has been that most customers either wear a mask, or agree to put one on before shopping, those who decline to often are adamant in their refusal, and the request often sparks anger in those who see the requirement as an infringement on their personal freedom.
Source: The Daily Chronicle