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Retail

Major US Retailers Walmart, Kroger To Require Customers To Wear Masks

Walmart Inc, Kroger Co and Kohls Corp will require shoppers to wear face coverings starting next week, the retailers have said, imposing a widely-accepted protective measure as coronavirus cases jump across the United States.

Using face masks is the top recommendation from health experts and government officials looking to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in 136,000 deaths across the country.

New Policy

Walmart said about 65% of its over 5,000 U.S. stores, including its wholesale Sam's Club outlets, were in areas where there was already some form of government mandate on face coverings. Its new policy will now apply to all stores from Monday.

Kroger will require the use of face masks in all its locations from July 22, while department store chain Kohls, whose majority store base already insists on face coverings, will make it a requirement across stores starting July 20.

Best Buy Co Inc and Starbucks Corp have already imposed the use of face masks at their U.S. outlets.

Nationwide Policy

Trade group National Retail Federation (NRF) on Wednesday pushed for retailers to adopt a nationwide policy that requires customers to wear masks.

While many retailers have recommended masks for months, they were hesitant to make it a requirement, for fear of antagonizing shoppers, with numerous videos posted online on confrontations between customers and employees.

"Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk," the NRF said.

Walmart said employees stationed at the entrance of its own and Sam's Club stores will remind customers of its new policy.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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