Kohl's, CVS, Target the latest businesses to require face masks for customers

In this July 10, 2019, file photo shoppers visit the downtown Target Store in Minneapolis. Target Corp. reports financial results Wednesday, Aug. 21. Photo: AP/ Jim Mone,. In this July 10, 2019, file photo shoppers visit the downtown Target Store in Minneapolis. Target Corp. reports financial results Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: July 16, 2020 01:25 PM
Created: July 16, 2020 11:21 AM

Kohl's, CVS Pharmacy and Target are the latest companies to require face masks for customers while in-store.


Kohl's announced the news on Wednesday, while Target and CVS made the announcements on Thursday. 

"As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, face covering mandates have grown to apply to approximately 70% of our store base. Therefore we've made the decision to take a consistent approach across our entire store fleet. Beginning Monday, July 20, we will require all customers to wear a face covering while shopping in our stores," Kohl's said in a statement on its website. 

For those who would prefer not to shop in-store, Kohl's offers a new limited-contact store drive-up service, among other options. To see the options, click here.

CVS Pharmacy's requirements will go into effect also on July 20. 

"With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20," CVS said in a statement.

Where face masks are required in Minnesota

Target's policy will go into effect Aug. 1. Everyone, except for those with underlying medical conditions and young children, will be required to wear a mask. More than 80% of Target's 1,800 stores already require customers to wear masks due to local and state regulations.

Target said Thursday that it will hand out disposable masks at entrances to those who need them. Additionally, there will be added signs and in-store audio announcements to remind visitors to wear masks. Employees will also remind visitors at store entrances.

Starbucks, Best Buy, Kohl's and Kroger Co. also have put mandatory face shield rules in place.

Retailers have hesitated to make masks mandatory nationwide out of fear of angering some customers over what, even in a pandemic, has become a political issue.

Mandatory masks put employees in the position of becoming enforcers and confrontations with customers have played out in multiple incidents caught on video.

It was difficult to enforce such rules, even in states that mandate face masks. However, the recent surge of new virus cases — particularly in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona — has left them with no choice, retail experts say.

Retailers have been forced to fill a role that many see as the responsibility of local, state and federal agencies. Yet only about half of the U.S. states require masks in public places.

In recent days, Kentucky, Michigan and Alabama have passed statewide mandates.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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