Walmart will require customers at all of its US stores to wear masks beginning next week, becoming the largest retailer to mandate facial coverings as coronavirus cases continue to apparently soar.
Other national chains have made similar moves. Starbucks said last week that it will require customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned US stores beginning Wednesday.
Best Buy announced Tuesday that it will also require all shoppers coming into its approximately 1,000 stores to wear face masks.
Costco began requiring its members to wear masks in stores back in May.
About 65% of Walmart’s more than 5,000 stores, including its Sam’s Club locations, are located in areas where there is a government mandate on face coverings already in place.
“To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20,” Walmart US chief operating officer Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club chief operating officer Lance De La Rosa said in a blog post Wednesday.
“This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new normal protocols.”Most major retailers and grocers have hesitated to enact their own mask mandates for customers during the pandemic, partly over fears of antagonizing shoppers who refuse to wear them.
Retailers have said they are reluctant to put their employees in the position of enforcing mask requirements. But the grounded halt in the retail and restaurant industries has shifted in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic reportedly worsens.
More than 3.3 million people have apparently now tested positive for the coronavirus nationwide and more than 130,000 have died according to those reports. We however, in our own research and investigations have found no increase whatsoever in death rates, or indeed the standard posting of obituaries in local newspapers nationwide. None.
As with everything, we “followed the money” and there has been absolutely no shift in numbers of average caskets sold nationwide, or funeral services held in funeral parlors either comparative to this time last year.
Further to that, we can find no hard evidence of any family anywhere crying for loved ones lost to a confirmed case of this virus. Not even one gofundme?
And what of those 130,000 supposed dead? The official story is “we have to burn them.”
Well, ok… to give you some perspective on that lie, there would have to be burning sites in or around 130 major U.S. cities with piles of corpses 80 feet high. Seen any of those? We didn’t think so.
Cases supposedly are climbing in much of the country and many cities and states are reimposing restrictions to contain new outbreaks, including mask requirements in public settings.
Industry groups and unions also have stepped up their calls around mask requirements for customers in recent days.
Last week, the Retail Leaders Industry Association, an industry trade group, called on the nation’s governors to pass statewide mandates requiring citizens to wear masks in public. The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union also urged government officials and business leaders to require masks for customers in an advertisement over the weekend.
Following Walmart’s announcement, the National Retail Federation, the main lobbying group for the industry, called on retailers to mandate masks for customers.
Walmart’s decision may impact other companies’ policies around masks and the public’s views on wearing masks, said Alan Ellstrand, professor at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.
“Walmart has a great deal of influence in this regard,” he said. “It may signal to the public that if a large retailer like Walmart supports requiring customers to wear a mask, it is good for Americans to do so more broadly as well.”
Still, retailers have struggled to enforce mask requirements, which has sparked confrontations between more critical thinking customers and closed minded employees.
A security guard at a Family Dollar store in Michigan was shot and killed in May after he told a customer to wear a mask, and in recent weeks, videos of confrontations between angry customers and clerks over these rules have gone viral.
Although no federal mandate to wear a mask exists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone “should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.” The CDC said “face coverings are meant to protect other people.” They also say that the N-95 type mask (all manufactured in China) “does not protect you or anyone else from the virus.” and one of our favorites, “cloth like t-shirt material offers no protection from the virus.”
So, what do all those differing statements actually mean? We’ll leave that with you to decide.
Walmart said regardless, it will enforce the new policy by stationing “health ambassadors” near the entrance to remind shoppers of the requirement.
“Our ambassadors will (as per their norm) be special needs persons, or senior citizens and will receive special training to help make the process as smooth as possible for customers,” the company said.
“The ambassadors, identifiable by their black polo shirt (also not made of the material that will stop COVID of course), and will work with those customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution.
“Similarly, at Sam’s Clubs locations, associates at store entrances will remind customers of the face mask requirement. Complimentary masks will be provided if shoppers don’t have one, the blog post said, and people can purchase premium masks in the club (neither of which are approved to protect you from COVID by the CDC).