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"Currently about 65 percent of our 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, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering," the retail giant said in a blog post.
Walmart chose the July 20 deadline so that customers have time to adjust and employees can adapt to new protocols. Walmart has created a new role called a Health Ambassador to ensure customers are wearing face coverings and to "work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution."
Walmart associates were already required to wear masks. It also requires shoppers to go through a single entrance to promote social distancing.
A recent poll found that 77 percent of U.S. adults "favored a mandatory face mask policy," with Republicans and rural Americans slightly less likely to say they support mandatory masks, according to data gathered by The Harris Poll from July 10 to 12.
The retailer's decision comes after the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 3 million earlier in July.