Walmart, Sam’s Club and others to require face masks in all stores

Posted: 15 July 2020 5:53 pm

You might be denied service without a facial covering, even if wearing one aggravates a medical condition.

Starting on Monday, July 20th, Walmart and Sam’s Club will join several companies that already require face masks to be worn by all customers and employees while inside the store. Along with that announcement, Walmart noted that several other aspects of its shoppers’ experience are expected to change as well.

All Walmart stores will be limited to one entrance, where a “Health Ambassador” will be stationed. These employees will remind customers of the new face mask policy as they enter the building and can be identified by black polo shirts. Finder contacted Walmart customer service about exceptions for those with medical conditions that may make it difficult to wear a facial covering. As of this writing, no exceptions will be made to the company’s policy.

Sam’s Club, Walmart’s sister company, will implement a similar face mask policy starting on July 20th. However, the company states on its corporate website that “[Sam’s Club] knows 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.”

Complimentary face masks will be provided at the door, or members can purchase them inside the store.

Other stores that have already or plan to implement similar face mask policies include:

  • Best Buy. Starting July 15th, all customers are required to wear a face mask when inside any Best Buy store. A Best Buy customer service representative told Finder that shoppers who cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons will need to allow another person to shop for him or her instead.
  • Costco. One of the first stores to require face masks, Costco implemented a policy on May 4th requiring all customers to wear a facial covering that covers the nose and mouth at all times while in the store. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and anyone with a medical condition preventing them from wearing a mask.
  • Starbucks. Starting July 15th, all customers are required to wear a face mask when inside any Starbucks location. A Starbucks customer service representative told Finder that shoppers who cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons can use the drive-through, mobile app and curbside pickup or Starbucks UberEats to place their order instead of going inside the store.
  • Dollar Tree. Though it previously rolled back its mask requirement in July, Dollar Tree now requires customers to wear face masks while shopping in stores.

What kind of mask do shoppers need to wear?

None of these companies have specified a type of mask that customers will need to wear while shopping. Most simply state that your nose and mouth must be covered. Thus, a cloth face mask can suffice in most cases. However, if you are feeling unwell or have been caring for a sick person and must go to the store, consider wearing an N95 respirator mask, which includes a filtration device.

Other options include disposable surgical masks and DIY masks made out of bandanas, scarves or T-shirts.

Can I reuse my mask?

Only cloth face masks can be washed and reused. Surgical, N95 and 3M masks are not designed to be reused, as they can harbor bacteria after being used. Therefore, cloth or bulk disposable masks may be the most cost-effective options.

Image: Canva

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