Target, CVS, Others Make Masks Mandatory

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Target, CVS, Others Make Masks Mandatory

By Thad Rueter - 07/16/2020
Target, CVS, Others Make Masks Mandatory
Target has joined Schnucks, CVS and other retailers in requiring shoppers to wear masks.

Retail mask mandates are coming fast and furious, with the latest chains to join the quickly growing club including Target, Schnucks, Publix, Festival Foods, Gap, Office Depot, Best Buy and CVS Health, Lowe's and The Home Depot.

All them have revealed that consumers who want to shop inside their stores — with a few exemptions — must now wear facial coverings to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

These announcements follow similar moves from the likes of The Kroger Co.Walmart and Sam’s Club — and other calls to adopt a nationwide pro-mask policy. As masking inside food and other retail stores gains support, the legal battles over masking policies from store operators are also gathering steam.

Here are the main known details of the newest retail mask policies:

  • The Schnucks mask mandate kicks in Monday, July 20 and has exceptions for young children and those with medical conditions who are unable to wear a face covering. Schnucks will provide complimentary masks – one per customer – for a limited time.
  • The Target mask mandate reportedly starts Aug. 1 and includes similar exceptions. The retailer will provide disposable masks at the door for shoppers who need them.
  • The Publix mask requirement starts on Tuesday but does not apply to young children and shoppers with medical conditions. Like other retailers, Publix also has installed plexiglass shields at all registers and pharmacies to better protect both associates and customers.
  • CVS will require masks as of Monday, July 20.

CVS Health COO Jon Roberts gave a sense of the challenges and potential tension of requiring shoppers to wear masks — a tension on display in all of those anti-masking viral videos that have become their own genre during the pandemic.

“To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer,” Roberts said. “What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering."The retailers will also put up signs informing shoppers of the new mandates. Some employee training and customer education are also in store over the next few days.

Schnucks, for instance, said that it will provide mask protocol training to its workers, and that its Schnucks Rewards customers will receive an email notice about the new mask policy.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved quickly to respond to the ever-changing environment and prioritize safety and cleanliness in our stores,” noted Schnucks Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck. “We have been monitoring this situation closely, and given the escalating number of positive COVID-19 cases in the regions we serve, we believe requiring masks for teammates, vendors and, now, customers is in the best interest of public safety. We understand that there are a variety of opinions about masks; however, the CDC and other health experts are aligned on the benefits of facial coverings in reducing the spread of COVID-19.”

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