Beginning Monday, Walmart, Sam’s Club to require masks for all customers at U.S. stores.

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Beginning Monday, Walmart, the Bentonville-based retail giant, will join other retailers such as Best Buy and Costco in requiring customers to wear a mask or face covering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Wednesday release, Walmart said about 65 percent of its more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings.

“From the beginning of the COVD-19 pandemic, our focus and priority has been and continues to be on the health and safety of our associates, members, and customers,” Dacona Smith, Walmart’s U.S. COO, and Lance de la Rosa, Sam’s Club CEO stated in the release.

The move, Walmart noted, was also to help bring consistency across stores and clubs.

Walmart said that 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.

The retail chain has also created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the entrance to remind those without a mask of the new requirements, and when the requirement for entrance begins, all stores will have a single entrance.

“We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering,” said Smith and de la Rosa said in the release. “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.”

“We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. 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. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our customers and members in wearing face coverings to protect their safety and the safety of our associates,” the COOs said in the release.

To read the full release from Walmart, click here.

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