The National Retail Federation (NRF) wants US retailers to adopt a nationwide policy that requires customers to wear face coverings or masks when shopping in stores.
In a statement, the trade association said the health and safety of workers and customers is a top priority – and wearing a face covering or mask is “scientifically proven to reduce the spread of Covid-19.”
It adds: “Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk.
“It is critically important that we have a national mask standard implemented locally. Retailers are protecting the health and safety of communities they serve. Our elected leaders need to set politics aside and follow their example.”
Companies like Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others have already implemented nationwide mask mandates. Yesterday (15 July), Walmart said it will require shoppers in its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores to wear face coverings from next week.
NRF hopes the announcement by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – “is a tipping point in this public health debate.”
The comments follow calls from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) for federal face mask guidelines to assist retail stores as the country continues efforts to safely reopen.
In a letter addressed to the President Trump, the AAFA said it supports the quick development and publication of national face mask usage standards to promote widespread face mask-wearing in enclosed public spaces. Without this, it warned additional widespread business shutdowns are likely.