Target and CVS Health are requiring all customers to wear masks inside stores, following similar announcements from other large retail chains.
Target said its policy will start August 1.
Customers must wear masks unless they have underlying medical conditions, the company said in a statement to news outlets. Young children are also excluded.
Workers will hand out disposable masks at Target entrances to customers who don’t have their own.
More than 80 percent of Target’s stores already require customers to wear face coverings because of state and county regulations.
CVS will require masks from July 20.
“With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we’re joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country,” Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts said in a statement.
Employees will not “play the role of enforcer,” he said, urging customers to “help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering.”
Walmart said earlier this week it would require customers to wear masks starting July 20. Shoppers at Sam’s Club, Walmart’s membership-based warehouse, will also be required to don coverings.
Best Buy, Costco, Kohl’s, and Dollar Tree are among the other chains requiring or planning to require masks or face coverings to be worn in stores.
The National Retail Federation said Wednesday that retailers should mandate coverings.
“Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk,” the group said in a policy statement.
Walmart’s policy could be “a tipping point in this public health debate,” it said.
Some experts say wearing masks can help prevent the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19.
The virus is believed to spread primarily through droplets released when infected people sneeze, cough, or talk.
Critics say there isn’t enough evidence to support the widespread wearing of masks and point to officials in the early months of the pandemic urging people not to wear masks.
U.S. officials reversed their stance in April, citing studies indicating people with the virus, but not showing symptoms, could still spread it to others.
The World Health Organization has largely maintained its guidance regarding masks, telling people, “[a]t present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”