July 15, 2020 / 3:15 PM / 24 days ago

Walmart to mandate customers across U.S. stores wear masks

July 15 (Reuters) - Shoppers at Walmart Inc stores will have to wear face coverings, the world's largest retailer said on Wednesday, mandating what is widely seen as an effective measure to control the spread of the new coronavirus.

As coronavirus infections spike in many states across the country, face masks have become the leading recommendation from health experts and government officials looking to control the pandemic, while reopening the economy.

Walmart said about 65% of its over 5,000 U.S. stores, including its wholesale Sam's Club outlets, are located in areas where there is already some form of government mandate on face coverings. Its new policy will apply to all stores starting Monday.

Best Buy Co Inc also requires its customers to wear face coverings starting Wednesday, while AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc said in June its guests would have to wear face masks at its U.S. movie theaters, reversing a previous policy that had prompted harsh criticism.

Walmart said employees stationed at the entrance of its own and Sam's Club stores will remind customers of its new policy. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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