Large retail chains have started requiring customers to wear masks inside all of their stores, as coronavirus cases surge across the country and politicians and public health experts clamor for widespread use of face coverings to stem the spread of the disease.
After Walmart, America’s largest retailer, announced on July 15 that it would mandate in-store mask-wearing, a flurry of other companies, including Kroger, Target and Walgreens, followed suit. This means that customers will be required to wear face masks in stores even in places without local mask ordinances. The National Retail Federation has encouraged companies to set nationwide mask policies to protect employees and shoppers.
Some chains, however, have moved in the opposite direction. After implementing a customer mask requirement nearly two weeks ago, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar reversed course on July 20, saying they would require masks only if mandated by state or local rules.
Here is a list of the major retailers that have told customers they must mask up.
The Boise, Idaho-based grocery company, which also owns Safeway, Vons, and Acme Markets, said that customers must wear face coverings at all store locations, effective July 21.
The German supermarket brand with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries said on June 17 that customers had to wear face coverings in its stores. The policy went into effect on June 27. Aldi requests that customers who are unable or unwilling to wear a face covering use pickup or delivery instead.
On May 17, the iPhone maker announced that all shoppers would be required to wear masks inside its stores. The company said it would give masks to customers who did not have them.
On July 2, AT&T announced that store visitors needed to wear face coverings. The satellite communications provider also said it would provide masks to customers who need them.
Bed, Bath & Beyond
The home goods retailer, with over 1,460 locations across the United States, Mexico and Canada, said it would require all in-store shoppers to wear a mask beginning on July 24.
The electronics company said on July 14 that all customers must wear face coverings when shopping in Best Buy stores. The company will provide masks to customers who do not have one. The policy, which went into effect on July 15, does not apply to small children or people unable to wear a mask for health reasons.
On May 4, the wholesale outlet mandated that shoppers wear a mask covering both their nose and mouth at all times, excluding children under the age of 2 or people unable to wear a mask because of a medical condition.
Jon Roberts, chief operating officer of CVS Health, said on July 16 that the drugstore chain would require all customers to wear face coverings while shopping in-store, effective July 20. “To be clear, we’re not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer,” Mr. Roberts said in a statement. “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.”
The clothing retailer, which operates its namesake brand Gap as well as Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Janie and Jack, said on July 20 that customers must wear masks in all of its stores in North America, effective Aug. 1. The company will provide disposable masks to patrons who need them.
The San Antonio, Texas-based supermarket chain announced on July 3 that all H-E-B stores would mandate the use of masks or facial coverings, except for children and people with health-related issues that prevent mask usage. “We are here for all Texans and we take our role to protect public safety seriously,” Martin Otto, H-E-B’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
The largest home-improvement retailer in the United States announced on July 17 that patrons will have to wear face coverings inside all its stores starting on July 22. Small children or those with a medical condition preventing mask-wearing are exempt from the policy. “Social distancing captains” will provide masks to shoppers who do not bring their own, according to a company statement.
The department store company began requiring shoppers to wear face coverings at its more than 1,100 stores nationwide on July 20. The retailer, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., announced its mask mandate on July 15.
Kroger, which owns supermarket brands including Fred Meyer, Ralph’s and Smith’s, said on July 15 that all customers in all locations must wear a mask when shopping. Small children are exempt from the policy. The company asks customers who are unable to wear a facial covering for medical reasons to use curbside pickup or delivery services. The policy goes into effect on July 22.
The home improvement company said on July 17 that shoppers have to wear masks or facial coverings in Lowe’s stores nationwide starting on July 20. The company is offering free masks to customers while supplies last.
Menard’s, which operates 350 home repair stores throughout the Midwest, said that it would require all shoppers to wear a mask or face covering in Menard’s stores. The chain will provide masks to customers who need them for a small fee.
As of July 15, guests must wear a mask inside all Panera bakery-cafes nationwide, except while seated and eating or drinking. Customers who do not have a mask or who are unwilling to wear one can use curbside, delivery or drive-through services.
The supermarket chain is requiring all customers to wear masks while shopping, effective on July 21.
The coffee chain announced on July 9 that customers must wear face coverings while visiting all Starbucks locations in the United States, a mandate that began on July 15.
On July 16, Target said customers have to wear face masks at all stores nationwide, effective Aug. 1. The Minneapolis-based retailer will provide disposable masks to guests who do not have one.
Trader Joe’s said on June 20 that all shoppers must wear face coverings in all store locations, except for small children and people unable to wear masks for medical reasons.
The phone service provider said on May 18 that all customers are required to wear cloth face coverings when visiting Verizon stores.
On July 16, the Deerfield, Ill.-based company announced that all customers have to wear face coverings while shopping, effective July 20.
Walmart, which operates more than 5,000 stores in the United States, mandated on July 15 that all shoppers wear face coverings, effective July 20. The company will station a “health ambassador” at store entrances to remind customers to wear a mask. Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, also requires customers to wear face coverings and will provide masks to customers who need them. “We know some people have differing opinions on this topic,” Walmart said in a statement. “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 Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocery store chain said on July 20 that it would require all shoppers to wear face masks beginning on July 27.
Whole Foods Market
Effective July 20, the upscale supermarket brand owned by Amazon, required customers to wear face coverings while shopping. Whole Foods Market said it would provide masks at the entrance of all stores to customers who do not have their own face covering.