(RTTNews) - Drugstore chain Walgreens said it will now require customers at all its stores chainwide to wear face covers when entering its stores. The change will take effect Monday, July 20.
The company's decision comes as health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, have urged everyone across the U.S. to wear face covers in public to help protect communities and stem the spread of COVID-19.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. continues to surge. Daily coronavirus cases in the country broke record for the third consecutive day, with the number of infections crossing 70,000 for the first time on Thursday.
As per Johns Hopkins University's latest data, total infections in the U.S. reached 3.57 million on Thursday after nearly 77,000 additional cases were reported in the last 24 hours.
Within hours of a CDC statement that the pandemic could be controlled in just one or two months if everyone wear masks, governors in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado and Montana announced that wearing of masks in public places would be made compulsory.
Walgreens had already made face covers mandatory at its stores in states and jurisdictions where they are required.
"We support the new CDC guidance that urges the use of face covers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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," said Kevin Ban, Walgreens chief medical officer.
Walgreens said there will be new and additional signage on exterior doors with the information. In addition, stores will increase the frequency of reminders to customers via their intercom system.
More retailers are now requiring customers to fear face coverings when entering their stores. On Wednesday, Walmart and Sam's Club said they will require all shoppers at their stores to wear face coverings from Monday, July 20.
Walmart also said it has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the store entrance to remind customers without a mask of the company's new requirements.
Grocery chain Kroger said that starting July 22, it will require customers at all its stores to wear face masks or face coverings.