Days after announcing its mandatory mask policy, Walmart — along with other stores — will not bar customers who refuse to wear a mask while shopping.
Per a Sunday report from CNN, retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walgreens, and CVS say they will still serve shoppers regardless if they have on a facial covering or not.
Among a number of reasons, these companies say they will not implement strict mask policies in order to avoid angry confrontations with patrons.
“With every requirement, there are exceptions that have been established to avoid escalating the situation and putting our associates in harm’s way,” a Walmart representative told the news channel. “Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation in the stores.”
Per the outlet, Walmart will station health ambassadors at the entrances of their stores to remind customers to wear masks. However, employees are told via a training video that they must still allow maskless shoppers into the store. Though a manager will then offer the customer a complimentary mask, they must “let them continue to shop” even if they refuse to put it on.
The training video also tells ambassadors never to engage with a customer physically or try to block their entrance into the store.
Though Lowe’s will also provide free masks to customers, as well as put up signs recommending facial coverings, a representative told CNN, “We will not ask our associates to put their safety at risk by confronting customers about wearing masks.”
A spokesperson for Home Depot compared the chain’s mask policy to its shoplifting policy, where employees are told not to block the entrance or chase after a customer.
“It’s too dangerous to forcibly or physically deny entry,” the representative said.
A representative for CVS said it will “ask for [customers’] cooperation,” but, “in the event of non-compliance, [the store] will expedite their transaction and provide them with other options for their future needs,” such as delivery and drive-thru.
Back in May, a security guard at a Family Dollar store in Michigan was fatally shot after he told a customer to wear a mask.
Last month, a viral video showed a maskless man physically assaulting a Walmart employee in Florida. Though the man made his way into the store, he was eventually asked to leave.
Walmart previously announced its mask policy on July 20, which then required all customers to wear face coverings while shopping.
According to the New York Times as of July 28 at 2 p.m. ET, there have been over 4.3 million reported cases of COVID-19, and 149,071 reported coronavirus-related deaths in the United States.