Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics chain, will require customers to wear face coverings at all of its stores nationwide, even in states or localities that don't require it.
The retailer, based in Richfield, Minnesota, joins a growing but still short list of retailers and restaurants that have instituted mask mandates throughout their chains. Starbucks announced last week that customers who visit its company-owned café locations in the U.S. will be required to wear face coverings.
Best Buy Co. said Tuesday that it will provide a face covering if a customer doesn't have one, and small children and those unable to wear one for health reasons may enter without one. It said that customers who have concerns about wearing mask will be able to shop Best Buy via its website and app and choose home delivery or contactless curbside pickup.
The moves comes as coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., pushing many states to reimpose lockdowns on businesses. The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Best Buy as well as Target, Home Depot and other major chains, publicized last week a letter it sent to state governors to mandate store customers to wear face coverings. It said the hodgepodge of rules around the country have created confusion for shoppers and that has lead to conflict between customers and workers trying to enforce store rules.
The National Governors Association said last week that its members are discussing the letter and others like it from different retail groups.
Grocery stores are another area of conflict. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents more than a million food system workers, has called for a law to make mask-wearing mandatory in all public places.
Social media is full of videos capturing clashes between those who are asked to wear masks, and employees who are under orders to make sure people wear them.
Fewer than half of U.S. states require masks in public places, according to the RILA. Only a handful of retailers, including teen clothing chain American Eagle Outfitters, have a mask mandate for customers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people cover their mouth and nose when around other people to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
First published on July 14, 2020 / 6:24 PM