How Will Walmart and Sam's Club Make Their Customers Wear Masks?

On Wednesday, Walmart announced that it would begin requiring all customers to wear face coverings in its stores and at Sam's Club locations in an effort to keep customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make sure that shoppers follow the new requirement, the store announced a new job, someone to work with customers who don't wear masks.

With the new requirement, many people on Twitter asked how Walmart will enforce the new policy, which takes effect on July 20. A lot of people expressed sympathy for the employees, but some made suggestions that the chain the employ local police to enforce the policy against potential aggressive customers who may refuse to follow the rule.

Those poor Wal-Mart employees who will have to enforce this.....

— Anne S (@arbs63) July 15, 2020

I do feel for the employees, its just not worth it for them to enforce. Wal-Mart and other major retailers should hire off duty police officers, like bars & nightclubs do.

— Brian (@BrianMSTL) July 15, 2020

In a press release written by both Walmart and Sam's Club's Chief Operating Officers Dacona Smith (Walmart U.S.) and Lance de la Rosa (Sam's Club), the executives explained that the company would create the new role "health ambassador" to assist shoppers. The ambassadors will be clad in black polos to distinguish themselves to customers.

The two chain stores explained that part of the health ambassadors' duty will include "remind[ing] those without a mask of [the stores'] new requirements." The ambassadors will also receive training in order to "help make the process as smooth as possible for customers." When customers show up without masks, the ambassadors will "work with customers... to try and find a solution."

The stores also said that they would work to "reduce friction for the shopper and make the process as easy as possible for everyone" regarding shoppers who may not be able to wear a face mask.

In addition to the ambassadors, the stores will also only have one entrance open to help keep the process consistent.

At Sam's Club locations, employees will also offer customers a free mask, if they don't have one, as well as following the above protocol. Masks will also be available for purchase.

The release ended by explaining exactly why the company was introducing the new policy, even if some customers may not like it. "We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC," the release ended. "We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our customers and members in wearing face coverings to protect their safety and the safety of our associates."

Newsweek reached out to Walmart via the media request form online but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Despite the requirement for customers to wear masks, Walmart stores have required that their own employees wear masks since April 17. This also included employees in the corporate offices.

Customers shop at a Walmart store on May 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The company announced that it would begin requiring customers to wear face masks on July 20. Getty/Scott Olson