Walmart and Sam’s Club are rolling out a requirement for all customers to wear face coverings in stores.
The policy, which takes effect July 20, was announced on Walmart’s website via a blog post by Walmart U.S. COO Dacona Smith and Lance de la Rosa, COO of Sam’s Club, which noted that the policy offers protection for customers and associates, as well as consistency to stores and clubs — roughly 65% of which currently are located in states with some type of face covering mandate. The company said the July 20 rollout would give the retailers time to roll out signage, inform customers and train associates on new protocols.
“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” the blog post said. “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.”
The mask mandate is just the latest in Walmart's efforts in response to COVID-19, which are detailed alongside other major retailers in Store Brands' Retailer Roundup.
In addition to signage, Walmart has created the role of health ambassador, who will be posted at the front of every store wearing a black polo shirt. These associates will receive special training to make the process smooth and work with customers who show up at the store without a face covering to find a solution. All stores will have a single entrance to ensure consistency, Walmart said.
At Sam’s Club, associates posted at the entrance will follow the same process with members, reminding them of the requirement to wear a face covering when shopping and providing complimentary masks is a member doesn’t have one.
The COOs noted that it is anticipating virtually everyone to either bring a mask or comply, as has been the case in areas with mask mandates.
“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,” the blog post said. “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.