The 10 largest retailers in the United States and many of the top 40 retailers have added a requirement that customers must wear masks to enter their stores. This guidance is based on that from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who has said that face coverings help stop the spread of the coronavirus. While the policy is posted, some retailers are finding it difficult to enforce.
Walmart, who also owns Sam’s Club and is the nation’s largest retailer, introduced a mask mandate on July 15. According to their website, the mask requirement is “a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities.”
- Home Depot
While these companies have policies in place requiring that shoppers wear masks, enforcement is another matter in many places. Many retailers can only encourage customers to wear masks but stop short of denying them entrance due to concerns over violence and safety.
If customers refuse to wear a mask, Walmart has instructed its employees to “let them continue to shop.” Commenting on Walmart’s mask policies, a company representative said, “Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation in the stores.”
A Family Dollar security guard was shot and killed in Michigan after he told a customer to wear a mask. And multiple videos have circulated online of confrontations between customers over masks and between clerks and customers when customers enter a store without a mask on. “With every requirement there are exceptions that have been established to avoid escalating the situation and putting our associates in harm’s way. Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation in the stores,’ a Walmart representative told the Daily Mail.
Other stores are having employees refer non-complying customers to management, suggest they order online, or have them shop quickly to avoid possibly infecting others.
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