Though Walmart is requiring customers to wear face masks in all of its stores, the chain, like many others, will not require employees to enforce this policy and has instructed associates to still serve customers who do not wear masks, according to a recent report by CNN.
The outlet cited retailers like CVS, Walgreens, Lowe’s, and Home Depot among those that have said they will not prevent mask-less shoppers from shopping in their stores, citing fears that these shoppers will get violent or otherwise harass these workers. CNN mentioned the recent trend in viral videos, showing anti-mask customers yelling at workers and in some cases, getting physical.
These videos have raised questions about who is “responsible” for enforcing such policies and how strictly they should be enforced. President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Stuart Appelbaum told CNN that it should be up to security or management to handle enforcing the requirement.
“It’s no different than wearing shoes or a shirt,” he said, in part, but went on to say that if no one enforces these new requirements, stores “never had a requirement. All they had was a public relations stunt.”
Walmart, in its case, has appointed “health ambassadors” to remind customers of the mask requirement when they come to the entrance of the store. But CNN reported that a training video for the position said that if someone refuses to wear a mask, they should let them enter the store and notify management “so that they can determine the next steps.” Management would then offer them a complimentary mask, according to “talking points” but even if they do not take it, they would be permitted to continue shopping, according to the outlet. Employees are reportedly being told to never physically block customers from entering the store in the video.