- On Tuesday, Office Depot became the latest retailer to require customers to wear masks in stores.
- Evidence is mounting that shows masks are effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and research shows that the majority of Americans are in favour of mask policies.
- As coronavirus cases rise across the country, more and more retailers are starting to mandate masks despite the potential for dangerous backlash.
- In most cases, small children and those unable to wear masks for health reasons are exempt.
- Here are the major retailers that have started requiring customers to wear masks, including Walmart, Macy’s, and Gap.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Sam’s Club is owned by Walmart, meaning that Walmart’s new mask policy will also apply to Sam’s Clubs across the country starting July 20.
Costco was one of the first major retailers to mandate masks in stores, instituting a mask policy on May 4.
On July 15, Best Buy started requiring customers to wear masks in its stores. It will provide masks to customers who need them.
On July 9, Starbucks became the first national restaurant chain to announce a mask requirement, which went into effect on July 15. The policy applies only to company-owned stores.
Apple closed its retail stores at the beginning of the pandemic, and when the company started reopening stores, it immediately required customers to wear masks inside.
Dollar Tree changed its policy on July 8 to require all associates, vendors, and customers to wear cloth face coverings in its stores.
Note: The company quietly reversed its policy on July 16, Forbes first reported. While associates and vendors are still required to wear masks, Dollar Tree now “requests” customers wear them.
The regional hardware chain Menards is requiring all guests to wear masks in its stores.
On July 15, Walmart announced it would require customers to wear face masks in all 5,000 of its stores starting July 20. The policy is enforced by employees at the stores’ entrances.
American Eagle requires customers to wear masks in its stores and provides masks to customers who don’t have one.
On July 15, Kroger announced in a press release that it would require all customers in its stores to wear masks starting July 22.
On July 15, Kohl’s announced it would require all customers to wear face masks starting July 20.
On July 16, CVS announced in a press release that it would require all customers to wear face coverings at its stores starting July 20.
On July 16, USA Today reported that Target had updated its coronavirus policies to include a mask mandate for customers. The new mandate will go into effect on August 1.
On July 16, Publix announced in a press release that it would require customers to wear masks at its stores starting July 21.
On July 17, Lowe’s announced in a press release it would require all customers to wear masks or face coverings. The new policy went go into effect on July 20, and Lowe’s will also offer free masks to customers who need them.
Home Depot announced that it would require consumers to wear masks or facial coverings inside all its stores in the United States starting on Wednesday, July 22.
According to a press release from the company, around 85% of Home Depot locations “already require facial masks in compliance with local and state regulations.” The company has also required its employees to wear masks on the job.
The mask mandate will not apply to small children or “those who have a valid medical condition.” The press release said that the stores will appoint “social distancing captains” and task employees with providing masks to shoppers.
“We appreciate all of our associates who have been working so hard to serve our customers with the essential products they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to thank our customers for their cooperation as we work to protect everyone in our stores,” Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice president of stores, said in a statement.
Starting on July 27, ALDI will begin mandating that all customers will require face coverings in order to enter its stores.
In a press release sent out on July 17, the company cited “the health and safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve” as being the impetus for this new policy.
As per company policy, ALDI employees have already been required to wear facial coverings for months.
“We continue to monitor safety protocols from the CDC as well as state and local health officials,” the statement said. “Most recently, the CDC stated that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 and could reduce the spread of the virus.”
Starting July 20, Whole Foods Market will institute mask or facial covering requirements for all shoppers. The grocer put out a statement on July 17 saying that the measure was meant “to protect the health and safety of our Team Members and communities.”
“Whole Foods Market provides face masks at the entrance of all stores for customers who do not have their own face covering,” the statement said.
The company added that its “stores will continue to follow local ordinances regarding personal protective equipment.”
The statement also noted that Whole Foods employees, Prime Now shoppers, and third-party workers “are required to wear face masks while working.”
Macy’s will require shoppers to wear facial coverings starting July 22, the department store chain announced on July 17.
On July 20, Gap, Inc. released an update to its coronavirus policy announcing it would require customers to wear masks in all stores starting August 1. Stores will also offer free masks to customers who don’t have one.
The policy will go into effect at all of Gap, Inc.’s retail brands, including Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Intermix, and Janie and Jack.
PetSmart will now require shoppers to wear a face mask or facial covering in stores. According to industry news site Pet Product News, the company will enforce social distancing and cancel in-store events.
JK Symancyk, PetSmart’s president and CEO, added his signature to a Retal Industry Leaders Association letter asking state governors make mask-wearing mandatory in retail stores.
The South Florida Business Journal reported that Office Depot will require shoppers to wear masks in stores starting on Monday July 27.