WASHINGTON — Target and CVS are the latest retailers to announce that they will require customers to wear masks or face coverings at their stores nationwide.
The announcements were made after other major companies like Walmart, Sam's Club, Kroger and Kohl's decided this week to require masks as confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.
Starting August 1, Target will require all guests to wear masks or face coverings in all of their stores. However, that excludes those with underlying medical conditions and young children.
For any shoppers that don't have a mask, stores will provide disposable masks at store entrances. More than 80% of Target's stores already require shoppers to wear face coverings due to local and state regulations, the company said.
Target added that it will add signage, station employees at store entrances to remind shoppers to wear masks and have audio reminders playing throughout every store.
CVS tweeted on Thursday that its policy will go into effect on July 20.
"To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer," Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts said in a company statement. "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."
In areas where COVID-19 is spreading, health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say that wearing masks or other face coverings in public helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus when people can’t socially distance by staying 6 feet apart.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, announced Wednesday that it will have a "Health Ambassador" stationed at the entrance of its stores to remind customers without a mask about the new requirements. According to the announcement, Walmart is "currently considering different solutions" for mask-less customers.
Minnesota-based Best Buy also said it would start requiring shoppers where face masks in all its stores. Last week, Starbucks started requiring face coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned US stores.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 3.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
Just after 11:30 a.m. EDT Thursday, the U.S. had more than 137,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 13 million confirmed cases with more than 584,000 deaths.