Aldi, Lowe’s among latest retailers to require masks

July 15, 2020; most recent update July 20

Aldi shoppers also will need to add a face covering when entering the store soon. The grocer plans to begin requiring face coverings July 27.

“Our new face covering policy is an enhanced safety measure intended to help limit the spread of COVID-19. All Aldi employees will continue to wear face coverings as they have for months,” it said in a statement.

“We encourage any customer that is unable or unwilling to wear a face covering to visit for grocery delivery — and even curbside grocery pickup in many locations.”

In Sioux Falls, Aldi offers curbside pickup at two of its three locations: Louise Avenue and Arrowhead Parkway.

Lowe’s also will start requiring face coverings July 20. It will offer free masks for customers who need them at customer service while supplies last.

“As a retailer offering essential goods, we have a responsibility to our associates, customers and small businesses in communities nationwide to help provide a safe shopping experience,” said Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.

“Throughout this pandemic, our associates have worked tirelessly so customers could get the goods and services they needed for their homes and small businesses. For the safety of everyone in our stores, we ask that customers wear masks, and to make this new standard less restrictive, we will make masks available to those who need them.”

Walgreens and The Home Depot also have joined the growing number of national retailers to require shoppers to wear face coverings.

The rule starts July 20 at Walgreens, which has six stores in Sioux Falls.

“We support the new CDC guidance that urges the use of face covers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Kevin Ban, Walgreens chief medical officer.  “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 to support recommendations of health officials, both locally and nationally.”

The Home Depot will begin requiring face coverings July 22 other than for “small children and those with a valid medical condition,” the retailer said in a statement, adding about 85 percent of stores already require the masks to comply with state and local regulations, and all associates are required to wear them.

“We appreciate all of our associates who have been working so hard to serve our customers with the essential products they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to thank our customers for their cooperation as we work to protect everyone in our stores,” said Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice president of stores for The Home Depot.

Social distancing captains and store associates will be available to provide masks to those shoppers who may not have one. For customers who prefer alternative options to shopping in stores, ordering through The Home Depot’s website offers the convenience of curbside pickup and home delivery.

Target and Kohl’s also will start requiring shoppers to wear face coverings.

Target’s policy goes into effect Aug. 1. According to the company, more than 80 percent of its 1,800 stores already have the requirement because of local or state regulations.

Target, which has two locations in Sioux Falls, said Thursday it will give masks at the door to customers who need them. Young children and those with underlying medical conditions won’t be required to wear one. Customers can shop online if they prefer with shipping, delivery and curbside pickup options.

Kohl’s, which also has two locations in Sioux Falls, will start requiring masks July 20.

“As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, face covering mandates have grown to apply to approximately 70 percent of our store base. Therefore, we’ve made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet. Beginning Monday, July 20, we will require all customers to wear a face covering while shopping in our stores,” Kohl’s said in a statement on its website.

The national retailer also offers online ordering with shipping and curbside pickup as alternatives to shopping in its stores.

Walmart and Best Buy announced earlier this week that they would be implementing mask requirements for customers.

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, will begin requiring them July 20 at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations.

“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities. According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance,” Dacona Smith and Lance de la Rosa, chief operating officers for Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club, said in a joint statement.

Walmart also has created a new role of health ambassador, and those employees will be stationed at the front of the store to remind customers of mask requirements. They will “work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution,” the statement said. “We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20.”

To help ensure consistency with the new process, all stores will have a single entrance. Sioux Falls has four Walmart locations and one Sam’s Club.

At Sam’s Clubs, associates at the entrance will follow the same process with members. Complimentary masks will be provided if the member doesn’t have one, or members can purchase masks in the club.

“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,” the statement said.

Best Buy began requiring face coverings July 15.

The retailer will provide a face covering if a customer doesn’t have one, and small children and those unable to wear one for health reasons may enter without one. Any customer who has a concern about wearing a mask will be able to shop Best Buy via its website or app and choose home delivery or contactless curbside pickup, which remains in place at all stores.

“Although the risk of infection cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is community spread of COVID-19, we’re grateful to our customers and employees for working together to do what we can to keep us all safe,” the company said in a statement.

“Best Buy believes relevant statewide policies requiring masks are an appropriate public health response in protecting front-line retail workers and customers from the growing spread of COVID-19.”

The retailers follow a move this week by Starbucks to require masks inside its cafes. Costco and Menards have required them since May.

Other stores requiring masks

  • Caribou Coffee: Corporate-owned locations
  • OfficeMax/Office Depot
  • Panera Bread
  • PetSmart
  • Macy’s: As of July 22
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond: As of July 24
  • Cost Plus World Market: As of July 24


Find COVID-19 case numbers, other updates here

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