Kroger and Walmart ‘Strongly’ Urge All Customers and Staff, Including Those Who Are Vaccinated, to Wear Masks as Delta Variant Cases Spread

Kroger and Walmart, two of the nation’s biggest retailing chains, are changing their mask policies as the nation contends with less-vaccinated regions getting hit by high infection rates due to the Delta variant.

Kroger is now “strongly” encouraging all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in its stores and facilities, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based supermarket operator said Friday, citing updated recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, Kroger had required unvaccinated employees wear masks and requested that unvaccinated shoppers do the same.

“We will continue to abide by all state and local mandates and encourage all Americans to get vaccinated, including our associates,” the company said in an emailed statement. Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, operates nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart said it will require all its workers — including vaccinated ones — to wear masks in areas with high infection rates of COVID-19. The country’s largest retailer also is encouraging its customers to wear masks in stores in areas with high infection rates from the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and will be adding back signs at entrances announcing its latest policies, according to a memo supplied by Walmart that was sent to its employees Friday.

Walmart will also bring back its “health ambassadors” who will be positioned at the entrances and hand out masks to customers.

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press