Walmart, Sam’s Club to require face coverings

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

New masking, single-entrance policy goes into effect Monday

The COOs of Walmart and Sam’s Club announced Wednesday that starting Monday, all shoppers at the stores will be required to wear face coverings.

According to a press release from Dacona Smith, Walmart U.S. COO, and Lance de la Rosa, Sam’s Club COO, about 65 percent of the 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 COVID-19 pandemic, our focus and priority has been and continues to be on the health and safety of our associates, members and customers,” the release said. “As the number of confirmed cases has spiked in communities across the country recently, so too have the number and types of face covering mandates being implemented. 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.

“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. 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 release said in addition to posting clear signage at the front of the stores, Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador, and those employees will be stationed near the entrance to remind those without a mask of our new requirements. 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,” the release said. “We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on Monday.”

To help ensure consistency with the 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, the release said.

Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one. Or, members can purchase masks in the club.

“We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering,” the release said. “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. As we have seen in states and municipalities with mask mandates, virtually everyone either brings a mask or readily complies with the requirement, and we anticipate that to happen in other areas as well.

“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.”

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