Walmart CEO says requiring masks ‘something that’s on our minds’


Businesses and cities across the country are requiring people to wear masks, which some people say infringe upon their individual rights.


Could Walmart soon require shoppers nationwide to wear masks in all of its stores?

The retail giant’s CEO Doug McMillon didn’t rule out the idea Monday during an interview on the Bloomberg’s online television show, “Leadership Live with David Rubenstein.”

McMillon said masks are currently required in about 3,700 of its more than 5,000 U.S. locations “where either governor or someone else has mandated it.”  

“We don’t currently, as we’re doing this interview, mandate that in our other stores but that’s obviously something that’s on our minds,” McMillon said.

More companies are making face coverings a requirement as viral videos of shoppers’ tirades and confrontations over being asked to wear then during the coronavirus pandemic erupt. The coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19.

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The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Walgreens, Home Depot and other major chains, is asking governors to mandate masks across the nation and says different local mandates have created confusion leading to conflicts between customers and store employees.

“Retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers who are under the misguided impression that wearing a mask is a violation of their civil liberties,” Brian Dodge, the retail association’s president, said in a recent letter to the National Governors Association.

Costco was one of the first retailers to start requiring masks at all of its clubs. The policy, which started in early May, sparked outrage on social media with some threatening to not renew their memberships. There have been several viral videos of shoppers not following the mask policy.

Starbucks will require customers wear face masks at locations nationwide starting Wednesday. 

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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