By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
BENTONVILLE – Beginning July 20, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club will require all customers to wear face coverings upon entering the stores. Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one.
In a joint statement, Dacona Smith, chief operating officer, Walmart U.S., and Lance de la Rosa, chief operating officer, Sam’s Club, stated, “From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus and priority has been and continues to be on the health and safety of our associates, members and customers.”
The statement explained that currently about 65% of the company’s 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, it will require all shoppers to wear a face covering.
Wal-Mart is committed to making the adjustment process as smooth as possible for its customers. Clear signage will be posted at the entrance and a Health Ambassador will be stationed near the entrance to remind customers of the new requirement. To help ensure consistency with the new process, all stores will have a single entrance.
At Sam’s Clubs, associates at the entrance will follow the same process with members, politely reminding them of our requirement to wear a face covering when shopping with us. Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one, or members can purchase masks in the club.
The statement continued, “We know it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering. Our associates will be trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper and make the process as easy as possible for everyone.
“As we have seen in states and municipalities with mask mandates, virtually everyone either brings a mask or readily complies with the requirement, and we anticipate that to happen in other areas as well.
“We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our customers and members in wearing face coverings to protect their safety and the safety of our associates.”