Largest Pharmacy Chains Require Customers to Wear Masks During Pandemic

More and more pharmacies are requiring that customers wear masks to enter the businesses. At the leading edge are the nation’s largest pharmacy chains. Find out how they are dealing with the most troubling complication: What to do if customers refuse to cover their faces.

DEERFIELD, IL – As Walmart and other large grocers, such as Kroger, announced in mid-July that they were requiring all customers to wear face masks to protect against COVID-19, large pharmacy chains followed suit nationwide.

Walgreens, CVS Health and Rite Aid also changed policies to include mandatory face masks, with Rite Aid saying it would provide one free-of-charge is a customer showed up without a mask. Those rules are in place even in state’s that don’t mandate masks.

A press release from Rite Aid also underscores a challenge facing pharmacies when it comes to enforcing the mandate. “Out of an abundance of caution for their safety, associates will not be asked to enforce requirements, but will be supported by signage and in-store announcements,” the company says.

Walgreens points out, “Face covers have already been mandatory at thousands of Walgreens in states and jurisdictions where they are required. Now, furthering the company’s commitment to health and wellbeing in communities across America, Walgreens is asking customers at all stores nationwide to wear face covers when entering the store.”

To promote the new policy, stores will put new and additional signage on exterior doors with the information and increase the frequency of reminders to customers via intercom systems.

At CVS Health, Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts provided the following update on the use of face coverings at CVS Pharmacy locations, "With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20.”

The CVS press release also addresses the problem of enforcing the mandate, explain, “To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer. What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering."

Target Corporation stores, where some CVS pharmacies are located, also is requiring customers to cover their faces during the pandemic.

All of the chains previously required staff to wear face masks.

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