As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in many states across the United States, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has issued a call to all retailers to set a nationwide policy regarding the wearing of face coverings.
“The health and safety of associates and customers is retailers’ number one priority and wearing a face covering or mask is scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the NRF statement read. “NRF applauds the leadership of companies such as Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others that have implemented nationwide mask mandates.”
In fact, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, said it was putting in place a policy that will require all shoppers to wear a face-covering beginning Monday, July 20. About 65% of Walmart stores and clubs are in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings.
Walmart will be posting signage at the front of its stores and also created the role of Health Ambassador who will be stationed near the entrance to remind those without a mask of the new requirements.
“We hope today’s announcement by Walmart is a tipping point in this public health debate,” the NRF said. “Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.”
Previously, other retail industry groups and unions called for requirements around wearing masks. The Retail Leaders Industry Association and the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union have pressed governments to make wearing a face-coverage while in stores mandatory.