Publix, Target and CVS are joining Walmart and a growing list of retail chains nationwide that are requiring customers to wear face masks.
“With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to grow and current CDC guidance indicating face coverings can help slow the spread of COVID-19, we believe requiring face coverings in our stores is another way we can do our part to help protect our communities,” said Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous in a news release.
At Publix the new mandate goes into effect on Tuesday, July 21. Signs announcing the new requirement will be posted at store entrances, and in-store announcements will be made. This requirement will not apply to young children and those with medical conditions who are not able to wear face coverings.
Publix is encouraging those who are not able to wear face coverings to consider using delivery or curbside pickup.
The Associated Press and Orlando Sentinel report Target’s mask policy will go into effect August 1, while CVS announced in a news release its mandatory face mask policy will go into effect on Monday, July 20.
Walmart announced Wednesday it would require shoppers to wear masks starting July 22.
Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers taking a different approach. In a Thursday night statement to WJCT News, the parent company of Winn-Dixie and Harveys said it encourages customers to wear face masks at all the stores it owns but is not making them mandatory.
"We are adhering to all local safety mandates within each of our stores and strongly encouraging those who are medically able to wear a face covering to do so. We do not want to cause undue friction between our customers and associates by regulating mask mandates, and we strongly encourage state officials to lead the way in regulating these type of safety mandates,” said Southeastern Grocers spokesman Joe Caldwell.
Caldwell added his stores are taking "every reasonable precaution" to protect the health and safety of customers and employees and will continue to actively evaluate policies.
"Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right," the National Retail Federation trade group said in a statement on Wednesday. "If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk."