Walmart and Sam's Club locations nationwide will mandate that all employees and shoppers wear masks or face coverings starting Monday, July 20, the national supermarket chain announced on Wednesday.
The company said that already about 65% of its locations around the country have implemented some form of mask mandate, but due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the mandate will be extended to all Walmart and Sam's Club locations.
"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," Dacona Smith, chief operating officer at Walmart U.S. and Lance de la Rosa, chief operating officer at Sam's Club said in a release.
"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 signage at store locations about the new mandate, Walmart said that it has also created a "Heath Ambassador" position, which will be stationed near store entrances to help customers with the new mandate, provide masks to those who don't have them and accommodate customers unable to use a face covering.
"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," the release said.