Updated with additional retailers and survey results (see last slide). Fifty-four percent of c-store retailers who responded to a survey open between July 19 and 27 said they were requiring both customers and employees to wear masks inside their stores.
CHICAGO — Convenience stores, drug stores, department stores and other retailers are requiring customers and employees to wear masks as coronavirus cases rise around the country.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers of all sizes have been on the front lines safely serving customers and supporting their communities,” the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. “Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. 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.”
Here are a some of the retailers requiring customers and employees to wear masks inside their stores …
GoMart convenience stores, Gassaway, Va., is requiring all customers and employees to wear masks inside its stores. Exceptions include children under the age of 9, individuals with certain breathing conditions and those who cannot otherwise remove a mask on their own, the company said.
"We are abiding by the mandate that has already been put in place in these states and going a step further by putting out a company-wide mask mandate, which allows us to maintain consistency across all stores," said Phil Shuman, general manager of GoMart. "We believe this is in everyone’s best interest, and we appreciate the understanding and cooperation."
Beginning July 29, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores will require customers to wear face coverings at every Love’s Travel Stop, Love’s Country Store, Love’s Truck Care and Speedco location across the country.
“We are joining other retailers by implementing a face covering policy for customers, and will continue to follow the guidance of health officials and adjust our practices to help keep our customers and team members safe,” said Shane Wharton, president of Love’s. “We want to thank our customers who continue to adapt to these protective measures implemented at Love’s.”
Customers who don’t have their own face mask or covering can purchase them at Love’s, the company said.
The Pilot Co., Knoxville, Tenn., has required all customers to wear masks, effective July 28. The policy will not apply to children or people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, Pilot said. Pilot will offer masks for purchase to those who do not have one and is working to make them available upon request.
Pilot had already required employees to wear face coverings as part of its early COVID-19 safety procedures.
“The wellness of our team members and guests is important to Pilot Co.," the company said in a statement provided to CSP Daily News. "We are deeply committed to our number one quality standard of safety and continue to evaluate our safety protocols according to health department, state and local ordinances. It is vital that our travel centers remain open and operational to provide the fuel, food and amenities drivers need to do their jobs. We join the travel center industry in this effort to ask everyone to do their part in protecting against the spread of COVID-19 in order to help ensure that our team members, professional drivers and other essential workers stay safe and are able to keep providing the goods and services that North America depends on.”
TravelCenters of America
Stewart’s Shops Corp., Ballston Spa, N.Y., has required customers to “mask up” while shopping in its stores, the company said. Stewart’s implemented the mask policy after the New York Department of Health required retailers to enforce this rule, it said.
“Some of us may know someone personally impacted by COVID-19,” Stewart’s said. “Health care professionals likely choose to wear a mask because of the science and research behind it and may see patients impacted by COVID-19. An individual may have an immuno-compromised or at-risk loved one at home and feel the need to protect them. Others may simply wear their mask to protect their community members because it is the right thing to do.”
Thorntons LLC, Louisville, Ky., is requiring all customers and employees to wear facemasks inside its stores, effective immediately. Guests with any medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask as well as children under the age of five in various areas are exempt from this policy, Thorntons said. Thorntons will offer disposable masks for guests who arrive without one.
Thorntons will implement store signage, onsite radio announcements and communication to rewards members to promote the policy.
“The health and well being of our Team Members and Guests are always a top priority but especially during this time when even more people are being affected by the novel coronavirus,” said Simon Richards, president and CEO of Thorntons. “Thorntons cares, and we proudly continue to take additional precautions inside and outside our stores to help slow the spread of the virus while remaining open 24/7 to serve our guests. The CDC and other health experts continue to recommend face coverings, so we believe it is the responsible thing to do to ask all guests who can, irrespective of local mandates, to join our team members and vendor partners in wearing a face covering.”
Walmart, Bentonville, Ark., will require all shoppers in its stores and Sam’s Club locations to wear face coverings beginning July 20. The company will enforce the new policy with the help of a team of Health Ambassadors, who will be positioned near store entrances to remind shoppers of the new requirements. Walmart said it would also post signage indicating the new policy at entrances, as well as reduce the number of customer entrances at all of its to its stores to a single point.
“To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20,” said Dacona Smith, executive vice president and COO of Walmart U.S. “This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols.”
Walmart said approximately 65% of its 5,000 stores and clubs are already under local mandates for face coverings.
CVS Health, Woonsocket, R.I., will also require all customers and employees to wear masks in its drug stores beginning July 20. Up until now, CVS has required employees to wear masks and has “encouraged customers to do so as well,” said Jon Roberts, COO of CVS.
"With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20,” Roberts said. “To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer. 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."
Walgreens, Deerfield, Ill., is requiring customers to wear face covers inside all locations chainwide beginning July 20. Walgreens will also add additional signage on outside doors with this message and will increase the frequency of reminders to customers via the stores’ intercom system.
“We support the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that urges the use of face covers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Kevin Ban, chief medical officer for Walgreens. “As cases continue to rise in many parts of the country, it’s critical we, as businesses and members of the community, do everything we can.”
Rite Aid Corp., Camp Hill, Pa., will require customers to wear face coverings in all locations, effective July 21. If a customer does not have a face covering, Rite Aid will provide one free of charge.
Face masks have been mandatory for Rite Aid associates since May 1 and have been required for customers in communities where face coverings are required by law in public spaces.
Rite Aid associates will not be asked to enforce requirements but will be supported by signage and in-store announcements, the company said.
“As the pandemic continues to embattle the country, it’s critical that healthcare companies lead by example and do all we can to ensure the health and safety of our associates and customers,” said Jim Peters, COO of Rite Aid. “In order to best provide [the] communities we serve with essential pharmacy services, we’re asking customers to help protect themselves and those around them by wearing a face covering.”
Target Corp., Minneapolis, will require customers to wear masks in all stores starting on Aug. 1. Customers with underlying medical conditions and young children are exempt from the announced policy.
“This builds on the more than 80% of our stores that already require guests to wear face coverings due to local and state regulations,” a Target spokesperson told CSP Daily News. “Given the guidance from the CDC on the role masks play in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, our store team members also already wear masks when they come to work, which we provide for them.”
Target will also provide disposable masks to customers who don't have one, it said. It will also add signage, overhead announcements and stationed team members at entrances to remind customers to wear masks