CVS is the latest retailer to enact a face mask policy in its store amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Rhode Island-based pharmacy shared the update last week that it would be taking the next step in safety precaution to help combat the spread of COVID-19, which has produced record-high positive cases in the country over the past few days.
Jon Roberts, the company's COO, noted that CVS had done everything they can "to keep people safe and healthy" since the coronavirus outbreak began. In requiring face coverings, Roberts explained that "we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer," instead urging all of their shoppers to listen to the experts. CVS follows the likes of Target, which made an announcement that same week about requiring all of its customers to cover their faces. "As individuals, we have that responsibility," the CVS chief executive, Larry Merlo, explained in an interview with the New York Times. "My mask protects you, and your mask protects me." Walmart, Kroger and Kohl's also have all made similar decisions over the past week.
The move by these significant retailers comes as COVID-19 cases have popped up at an alarming rate across the country. While states like New York and New Jersey, two areas hit the hardest in the beginning, have settled down in terms of cases, the epicenter of the outbreak now lies in Florida, where the state has five consecutive days of reporting 10,000 or more cases. The Sunshine State has yet to mandate face masks. Meanwhile, California continues to see a climb in its outbreak, indicating a record 2,232 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County alone on Monday.
Seeing this, stores like CVS and Target decided to take the extra measure of safety to provide a safer environment for their shoppers. Target noted that more than 80% of its stores had already been enforcing the policy due to local and state regulations. CVS is among the leaders in offering COVID-19 testing with more than 1,200 testing sites. The company announced it teamed up with the National Medical Association and local communities to expand beyond that number of sites, targeting areas hit the hardest and in areas with more vulnerable people. "Through our community testing sites, we are able to meet people where they are," said David Casey, CVS Health's Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President, Workforce Strategies, "bringing to life our company's Purpose of helping people on their path to better health."