NEW YORK (AP/KDKA) — Target and CVS have joined a list of the nation’s largest retailers that will require customers to wear masks as cases of COVID-19 spike.
The policy will go into effect Aug. 1. More than 80% of Target’s 1,800 stores already require customers to wear masks due to local and state regulations.
Target said Thursday that it will hand out masks at entrances to those who need them.
The nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced this week that masks would be mandatory in all stores starting Monday.
CVS says it’s also joining others and requiring all customers wear face masks when entering any store in the U.S. CVS’ policy will go into effect Monday.
News | 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. #COVID19
— CVS Pharmacy (@cvspharmacy) July 16, 2020
Starbucks, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Kroger Co. also have put mandatory face shield rules in place.
In Pennsylvania, the Wolf administration made masks mandatory in all public places.
Retailers have hesitated to make masks mandatory nationwide out of fear of angering some customers over what, even in a pandemic, has become a political issue.
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- Pennsylvania’s Mandatory Mask Order Applies To Schools
- Gov. Tom Wolf: Masks May Be Mandatory Until There’s A Coronavirus Vaccine
- Mask Order Applies To Sports, Pa. Dept. Of Health Says
- Health Officials Say Masks Are Essential To Stopping Spike In Coronavirus Cases
- ‘Wearing A Mask Shows That You Care About Others’: Pa. Secretary Of Health Signs Order Making Masks Mandatory In All Public Spaces
- Local Attorney Files 30 Complaints Against Giant Eagle’s Mask Policy, Saying It Discriminates Against People With Disabilities
- ‘No Mask, No Service’ Signs Pop Up As Businesses Begin To Slowly Reopen
Mandatory masks put employees in the position of becoming enforcers and confrontations with customers have played out in multiple incidents caught on video.
It was difficult to enforce such rules even in states that mandate face masks. However, the recent surge of new virus cases — particularly in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona — has left them with no choice, retail experts say.
#COVID19 UPDATE: In Pennsylvania, masks must now be worn whenever anyone leaves home.
This is essential to stopping the recent increase in #COVID19 cases in Pennsylvania.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) July 1, 2020
Retailers have been forced to fill a role that many see as the responsibility of local, state and federal agencies. Yet only about half of the U.S. states require masks in public places.
In recent days, Kentucky, Michigan and Alabama have also passed statewide mandates.
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