NEW REQUIREMENT: Masks to shop Walmart. (Walmart photo that accompanied news release)

Walmart announced today that shoppers at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores will be required to wear masks beginning July 20.

Some 65 percent of stores are in jurisdictions with masking requirements.

In a news release, Walmart said:

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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. 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.

In addition to posting clear signage at the front of our stores, Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the entrance to remind those without a mask of our new requirements. Our ambassadors will receive special training to help make the process as smooth as possible for customers. The ambassadors, identifiable by their black polo shirts, will work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution. We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20.

To help ensure consistency with this new process, all stores will have a single entrance.

At Sam’s Clubs, associates at the entrance will follow the same process with members, politely reminding them of our requirement to wear a face covering when shopping with us. Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one. Or members can purchase masks in the club.

We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering. Our associates will be trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper and make the process as easy as possible for everyone.

Walmart’s step reminds me of the fallacy of saying the supposed mask requirement issued in Little Rock is a “requirement.” A Tweet yesterday illustrates the point: A maskless shopper, wearing a Trump T-shirt, amid masked people at the Kroger on Cantrell in the Heights.

 

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