Walmart Requiring All Customers to Wear Masks
Walmart announced Wednesday morning that customers in all 5,000 of their stores, including those in the Utica-Rome area, will be required to wear face masks.
Beginning July 20, the nation's largest retailer will be mandating face coverings at all stores, including Sam’s Club. The company will provide complimentary masks for customers who do not have one, or masks can be purchased in the store.
Walmart joins many other national retailers in the mandate of masks, including Costco and Dollar Tree.
“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,” the company wrote in a joint statement from Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club Chief Operating Officer Lance De La Rosa.
Back in April, Walmart made it mandatory for all employees to wear masks while on the job, but would only be "encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop," at their stores - not requiring them.
"We know some people have differing opinions on this topic,” the company said in a press release. “We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC.”
The concept of wearing masks is one that is a split issue across the country. Many believe it's a violation of constitutional rights to be required to wear a mask. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Health Advisor, says Americans who don’t wear masks may ‘propagate the further spread of infection’ - information that is backed by the World Health Organization and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the company, about 65 percent of the fleet of stores and clubs are located in areas where there is already some form of government mandate on face coverings. This includes New York with Governor Cuomo's executive order. However, many feel they don't have to abide, because it's not a "law."
Customers will be turned away if they aren't wearing masks upon arrival into the store. This is something that Walmart employees haven't been able to do previously.