Kroger to require all customers to wear a face mask
Kroger joins Walmart in requiring all customers who enter their stores to wear a face mask.
Kohl's and Kroger are following suit with rivals Walmart and Sam's Club, announcing they will require all customers to wear masks while shopping in stores in response to a surge in coronavirus cases throughout the country.
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Kohl's said their mask mandate will begin at stores nationwide starting July 20.
"As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, face covering mandates have grown to apply to approximately 70% of our store base, therefore we’ve made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet," the company said in a statement.
The retailer said that there will be signage at the front of the store informing customers of the mask policy, and that store associates have been placed at store entrances to welcome shoppers and remind them to wear masks.
Customers who prefer not to shop in store are encouraged to use the company's new limited-contact Store Drive-Up service or place delivery orders online at Kohls.com.
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Meanwhile, Kroger's mask policy will take effect on July 22.
"As an employer, grocery provider and community partner, we have a responsibility to help keep our associates, customers and communities safe," the company said in a statement. "We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country."
The company added that they "respect and acknowledge that some customers, due to medical reasons, may not be able to wear a mask" and encourage them to consider an alternative option such as a face shield or facial covering.
If customers are unable to wear a mask, Kroger is requesting that they use the grocer's pickup or delivery services.
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The move by Kohl's and Kroger comes after an announcement from Walmart and Sam's Club earlier Wednesday that they would institute a coronavirus mask policy starting July 20.
"Currently about 65 percent of our more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings. To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering," the retail giant said in a blog post.
Walmart created a new Health Ambassador role to ensure customers are wearing face coverings and to "work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution."