Target Enacts Mandatory Face Mask Policy, Joining Walmart

Target has been quick to respond to national issues over the past few months. The company's latest move saw them enact a mandatory face mask policy amid the coronavirus pandemic. With positive cases in the country continuing to hit record-highs and states like Florida and California struggling to combat the spread, face masks have become a hot topic among policymakers.

The Minnesota-based company said in a statement that starting Aug. 1, all stores will be requiring customers to wear face coverings. Going into the announcement, Target shared that more than 80% of its stores had already been mandating this policy due to regulations at the local and state level. Any customer who shows up without a face mask and does not have one on them will be provided a complementary face covering. Target made its decision the same day that CVS announced it would be doing so. It also came one day after fellow major retailers Walmart, Kroger and Kohl's also shared the news that they would be instituting a new policy on face coverings for all shoppers.

Earlier in the pandemic, Target had been among the first stores to reduce its hours and promote a special timeframe for shoppers who were more vulnerable to COVID-19. Brian Cornell, who is the Chairman and CEO of Target, said at the time that the company wants to "continue to do all that we can to keep our stores open." Amid the social unrest, Target also took the opportunity to denote Juneteenth as an official company holiday. Cornell said in the release that the decision to do so takes on "additional significance" at this point, calling it "one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way."

Last week, Target announced it would be bumping its starting wage to $15 per hour for all of its U.S. employees. Cornell also shared that any team members can have free access to a virtual doctor and additional measures and extensions on their 30-day paid leave policy for their most vulnerable employees. As more and more retailers look for ways to make the shopping experience as safe as possible, the coronavirus continues to make its way through the south and western part of the country. Florida has reported 10,000 or more positive daily cases five times in a row, including a record-spike of 15,244.