Country music star Kenny Chesney may say, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.” But starting on Monday at Walmart, “no mask” WILL be a problem.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the nation, Walmart is no longer going to allow shoppers into the store without facial 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,” Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith stated on Wednesday.
Arkansas-based Walmart is the largest brick-and-mortar retailer in the world. According to the company’s website, the firm employs nearly 5,000 people at its 17 South Dakota locations, while paying an average hourly wage of $14.29.
Smith said about 65% of Walmart and Sam’s Club stores are located in areas that a government is mandating facial coverings. South Dakota, of course, is not one of those.
Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted: “Here we go again…
As I said months ago, the call to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to #COVID19 is herd mentality; it’s not leadership.”
Smith, however, cites the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that recommend facial coverings.
“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,” Smith said.
Smith also said Walmart will now employ “health ambassadors” near store entrances to enforce the mask policy.
“Our 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. We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20,” Smith said.
Walmart joins several other large retailers, notably Menards, in now requiring that customers wear masks.
“We are requiring guests and team members to wear masks while shopping at all store locations,” Menards now states on its website.
“We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. 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,” Smith added.