As the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 has spiked in communities across the country recently, two of the biggest grocery chains in the U.S., Walmart and Kroger, announced that starting next week, all shoppers will require to wear masks when in the stores.
Walmart said in a statement prepared by Dacona Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S., and Lance de la Rosa, Chief Operating Officer, Sam’s Club, that currently about 65 percent of our more than 5,000 stores and Sam’s clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings.
“To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face-covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage, and train associates on the new protocols,” said the statement.
In addition to posting clear signage at the front of its stores, Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the entrance to remind those without a mask of the new requirements.
The company said the 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. Walmart is 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 the requirement to wear a face-covering when shopping. Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one. Or members can purchase masks in the club, said the company.
Kroger Mandates Customers to Wear Masks
Starting July 22, Kroger will require all customers in all locations to wear masks when shopping in its stores.
“We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country,” said the grocery chain.
According to Kroger, small children are exempt to wear masks and for costumers that may not be able to wear them due to medical reasons, the company is suggesting an alternative option like a face shield or facial covering. If they’re unable to wear a mask or an alternative design, Kroger requests that they use its eCommerce services like pickup or delivery.
To support all households during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger’s grocery pickup service remains free (generally a $4.95 fee).
“As an employer, grocery provider, and community partner, we have a responsibility to help keep our associates, customers, and communities safe. According to the CDC, wearing a facial covering, combined with social distancing and frequent handwashing, has been scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Kroger.