Home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s have joined the growing list of major chains that will require all shoppers to wear masks in light of COVID-19 concerns.
In announcements on Friday, Lowe’s said its mandatory mask policy will go into effect in U.S. stores starting July 20, while Home Depot’s will go into effect on July 22.
“As a retailer offering essential goods, we have a responsibility to our associates, customers and small businesses in communities nationwide to help provide a safe shopping experience,” said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.
“Throughout this pandemic, our associates have worked tirelessly so customers could get the goods and services they needed for their homes and small businesses. For the safety of everyone in our stores, we ask that customers wear masks, and to make this new standard less restrictive, we will make masks available to those who need them,” Ellison said.
Customers who don’t bring a mask of their own will be given one while supplies last. Home Depot said small children or people with a valid medical condition will be exempted from its mandatory mask policy.
“We appreciate all of our associates who have been working so hard to serve our customers with the essential products they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to thank our customers for their cooperation as we work to protect everyone in our stores,” said Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice president of stores for The Home Depot.
Both retailers noted that curbside pickup or home delivery are options for consumers who would prefer not to shop in-person. Other retailers that have announced mandatory face covering policies include Apple, Meijer, Target, Publix, Best Buy, Costco, Starbucks, CVS, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Kroger.
In the absence of a vaccine to combat the coronavirus, studies have shown that wearing a face mask while out in public is a practical and effective way to prevent the illness from spreading. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in “all public settings when around people outside of their household.”