Target Corp. has become the latest mega-retailer to say it will require customers to wear face masks in its stores to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Beginning Aug. 1, the Minneapolis-based retail company will require customers, except those with underlying medical conditions and young children, to wear face coverings, according to a Thursday update to its coronavirus response page.
The move comes a day after Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, announced its own mask requirement.
Several other stores, including Richfield-based Best Buy, also announced customer mask policies this week.
Lunds & Byerlys and CVS also announced mandatory mask policies on Thursday. Wisconsin-based Kohl’s and Kroger both announced on Wednesday.
The national retailers join Costco and Menards, which adopted mandatory mask policies earlier.
The National Retail Federation on Wednesday encouraged all retailers to adopt a nationwide policy on face coverings.
“Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” the organization said.
Customers are already required to wear masks because of local mandates in more than 80% of close to 1,900 Target stores, the retailer said. Target also already required its employees to wear masks.
Retailers across the country have had to wade through a national public health debate about the effectiveness and enforcement of masks in public spaces.
Target, like Walmart, said it will have workers at entrances to remind shoppers of the requirement and provide disposable masks to those who do not have them. Stores also will have additional signage and overhead audio reminders on the new policy.
Videos have gone viral, including one in which a Target employee’s arm was broken in an altercation, showing angry customers confronted by employees or other customers for not wearing masks.