“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,” read a statement from the company. “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.”
The decision to require masks and face coverings will help bring consistency to stores across the country. About 65% of the company’s 5,000 stores are already in areas where there is some type of mandate requiring masks, according to the company.
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“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 company said. “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.”
Walmart also created a health ambassador role that will have workers near store entrances to remind those without a mask of the new requirement. Health ambassadors will work with customers who are not wearing a face covering to find a solution. The company is working to consider different solutions by the time the mask requirement goes into effect.
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“We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering,” the company 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.”
The health ambassadors will also receive training to help make the requirement a smooth process for customers.
Walmart will use a single entrance to maintain consistency during the process as well and have signs posted at the front of stores reminding customers to wear a mask.
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At Sam’s Club, associates at the entrance will remind customers of the mask requirement as they come into the store. Complimentary masks will be available for customers who do not have one or customers can purchase a mask at the store.