The NRF Calls on Retailers to Require Shoppers to Wear Face Masks Nationwide

Plus, which stores have already implemented a strict face mask policy

Illustration of masks
The NRF applauds the leadership of major retail chains that have mandated face masks for shoppers. Kacy Burdette
Headshot of Mónica Marie Zorrilla

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that everyone over age 2 wear a cloth face covering due to its scientifically proven efficacy in mitigating the spread of Covid-19, many states don’t have requirements for masks in retail stores.

That’s why the world’s largest retail trade association issued a statement today encouraging stores nationwide to enforce face mask requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. The National Retail Federation specifically mentioned it was proud of the leadership of companies like Walmart for announcing it will bar people without face coverings from entering more than 5,400 of its store locations, including Sam’s Club. The NRF called the policy, which goes into effect on July 20, a “tipping point in this public health debate.”

Other regional and nationwide retailers that have implemented strict mask rules in all of their store locations include:

  • American Eagle
  • Apple
  • AT&T
  • Best Buy
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Dollar Tree
  • H-E-B
  • Menards
  • Ralphs
  • Smart & Final
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • The Fresh Market
  • Verizon

“Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” the NRF said in its statement.

The announcement follows a letter urging for a national mask standard addressed to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and governors that the organization co-signed two weeks ago with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and other industry groups.

“Retailers are protecting the health and safety of communities they serve,” the statement said. “Our elected leaders need to set politics aside and follow their example.”

The NRF also noted that shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. Private businesses have the right to adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their team members and guests, regardless of state or county ordinances. The retail trade association’s site also provides a handy state map updated daily that provides general Covid-19 guidance by jurisdiction, as well as a summary of retail-specific restrictions.

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@monicroqueta Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.