Walmart requires masks for its customers beginning next week. As Walmart requires masks for its workers and shoppers alike, they’ll be the largest retailer across the nation to mandate face coverings. This major decision was made in light of coronavirus cases and the continual increase that America has seen in positive testing.

Other national chains like Kohl’s and Kroger are following in Walmart’s footsteps by announcing that face coverings will also be mandatory for all shoppers entering the stores as well. The National Retail Federation, which has been the main lobbying group for the retail industry also spoke out about the necessity of retailers requiring customers to wear face masks.

While most major stores across the United States were slow to mandate face-covering rules for customers during the pandemic, those businesses seem to be cracking down. At the pandemic’s inception in early March, many grocers or stores were reluctant to force employees to enforce mask requirements due to a fear of aggravating customers and potentially losing business. However, as the coronavirus continues to worsen, many businesses have decided to enforce face coverings for the safety and well being of not only their customers, but also for their employees.
In a blog post, Walmart US chief operating officer Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club chief operating officer Lance De La Rosa explains that  “To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face-covering starting Monday, July 20,” They continue and say that “This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols.”
Walmart’s mask mandate comes after Starbucks (SBUX) announced that it will require customers to wear facial coverings at all locations across the country, beginning Wednesday. Best Buy (BBY) has also announced that it will enforce mandatory face coverings for shoppers in all United States store locations as well.