Joining Walmart, Kohl’s Will Require Shoppers to Wear Face Masks Starting Monday

Ella Chochrek

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Kohl’s has become the latest retailer to roll out a face mask mandate across all its stores.

Beginning on Monday, July 20, customers at all roughly 1,100 Kohl’s locations across the United States will be required to wear masks. In accordance with local and state guidelines, customers had already been mandated to wear masks at about 70% of its stores, Kohl’s said. Associates will continue to be required to wear face coverings, as they have been since the retailer began reopening its doors post-pandemic.

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Kohl’s announcement came hours after Walmart — the largest brick-and-mortar retailer in the U.S. — implemented a similar requirement across all 5,000-plus of its units. Best Buy and Starbucks are among the other big names who have implemented mask policies in recent days. Costco enacted a mandate back in May.

What’s more, in a letter to President Donald Trump last week, the American Apparel and Footwear Association — which represents more than 1,000 companies across the United States — urged the leader to institute federal protocols for face masks to assist retailers’ efforts to safely reopen stores to the public.

“As we enter the next stage of our COVID-19 response and recovery, we are confronted with a stark choice,” AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar wrote. “If we do not require widespread use of face masks in enclosed public spaces, we will likely endure additional widespread business shutdowns.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said Tuesday that if everyone in the country started wearing a mask now, the virus could get under control in 4 to 8 weeks.

In addition to requiring face masks, Kohl’s has implemented a number of other changes aimed at keeping shoppers safe from COVID-19. The company has reduced operating hours and is offering a dedicated shopping hour for older adults, as well as for those who have underlying conditions or may be pregnant. Additionally, the retailer has installed protective barriers at its registers and has placed decals on its floors to encourage six feet of social distancing. The company also has shuttered its fitting rooms until further notice and has adjusted the returns process to decrease interactions between customers and workers.

Along with mandating employees to wear masks and gloves while on duty, Kohl’s is also requiring workers to participate in wellness and temperature checks prior to their shifts. What’s more, the retailer has reduced the number of workers in its stores at any given time. It has set up sanitization areas for associates to use and has reconfigured its breakrooms and offices to allow workers to properly social distance.

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