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Op-Ed: Many retailers now requiring masks — So put aside your hostility

Retailers will be using different approaches to get customers to comply with their face mask requirements, including stationing an employee by the entrance to providing free masks to customers.

“The key issue here is that a mandate in meaningless — meaningless — without enforcement,” said Marc Perrone, the president of a major grocery worker union, reports CNBC.

Readers may be surprised to learn there are more than just a handful of retailers asking that customers wear masks. And today, when Home Depot joined with Walmart, Target and others, in a press release, they said 85 percent of their stores already require customers to wear masks due to local and state regulations.

Walmart has raised the age to buy firearms in its U.S. stores from 18 to 21.

Walmart has raised the age to buy firearms in its U.S. stores from 18 to 21.
Raysonho (CC0 1.0)

“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 Home Depot in the release, reports

Starting Monday, Walmart will have an employee dubbed a “health ambassador” wearing a black polo uniform standing by the entrance. Some retailers will be providing masks, while CVS Health and Kroger, said they’ll use signs or store announcements to remind customers about the policy.

Enforcement may be a challenge
Let’s be honest, OK? Enforcement of mask wearing mandates has already been a challenge for many businesses, and we see stories about irate bar-owners and other business owners saying they will not enforce mask rules, no matter what happens.

Starbucks trials a NextGen Cup solution

Starbucks trials a NextGen Cup solution

We even have the governors of a number of states with very high coronavirus case numbers and deaths who refuse to ask their citizens to wear masks, claiming it would infringes on their “Constitutional rights.” And I get that, OK? But what about my rights and the rights of the millions of people in this country with underlying health conditions or who happen to be elderly?

The point is this – For months, public health officials have urged mask wearing and social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in public places. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies said face coverings prevent people who are sick — including those who do not have symptoms — from spreading the virus to others.

The U.S. reported over 75,600 COVID-19 cases on Thursday alone, marking a new daily record as cases continue to surge across the country. At least 943 people were reported dead that day.

Dr. Robert Redfield speaks on the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020.

Dr. Robert Redfield speaks on the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020.
The White House

Bottom line? I am asking my readers to please wear a mask when you go out shopping or to anyplace where there may be a crowd. Yes, it may go against everything you stand for, and yes, even I will agree with you on the constitutionality of requiring one, or not.

But really, now, it is time to put the animosity, hatefulness and divisiveness that has permeated our country aside for a little while. It is time we start acting like Americans again – a people undivided against a common cause – the coronavirus. So, please, wear a mask for your friends and neighbors.

The front of CVS store #4191.

The front of CVS store #4191.
Calmon 1

Full list of retailers requiring customers wear face masks
Costco: Mask mandate that went into effect in early May.
Starbucks: Mandate went into effect on July 15 and only applies to company-owned stores.
Apple: When Apple reopened stores in May, the company required shoppers to wear a mask.
Publix: Effective July 21, Publix will require all shoppers to wear face coverings.
Walgreens: Starting July 20, all customers will be required to wear face coverings.
Walmart: Walmart announced that masks will be required in all Walmart and Sam’s Club stores starting July 20.
Trader Joe’s: On July 15, Trader Joe’s announced that it “requests” that all customers wear a face covering.
Target: On July 16, USA Today reported that Target will require all customers to wear masks starting on August 1.
Best Buy: All shoppers need to wear a mask.
CVS: Starting July 20, all customers will be required to wear a mask to enter a CVS store.
Harris Teeter: All customers will be required to wear a mask starting July 22.
Kroger: All customers will be required to wear a face covering from July 22.
Kohls: Beginning July 20, Kohls will require all customers to wear a mask in all stores.
Whole Foods: On April 30, Whole Foods announced that masks would be mandatory in all stores
American Eagle: At both American Eagle and Aerie stores, customers are required to wear masks while shopping.
Verizon: All customers at the telecom giant’s retail stores must wear a mask.
H-E-B: On July 3, H-E-B announced that all customers must wear a mask.
Menards: Masks are required at all locations.
Home Depot: All customers must wear a mask in all U.S. stores starting July 22.
Lowe’s: Masks will be required at all of its U.S. stores starting July 20.
BJ’s Wholesale Club: Effective July 20.

Retailers list provided by Forbes.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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