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Stores now requiring masks

As COVID-19 cases spike around the country and in Hampton Roads, businesses are issuing nationwide mask mandates.

In light of the majority of states having mask mandates, many retail businesses are making similar mask rules to provide consistency across the company.

According to a corporate announcement on the Walmart website, the chief operating officers of Walmart U.S., Dacona Smith, and Sam’s Club, Lance de la Rosa, released a statement that starting July 20, masks will be required for entry in all stores across the country.

“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” said Walmart in its statement.

According to USA Today, other businesses requiring masks to enter their stores include Apple, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, CVS, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Kroger, Panera, Starbucks, Target, Walgreens and Verizon.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority also stated that it will be participating in the no mask, no entry initiative.

In his July 14 COVID-19 update, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he would be stricter on noncompliance to keep Virginia from facing spikes seen in neighboring states.

“We will not hesitate to take action to stop the people who are flouting the rules and putting everyone else at risk,” said Northam in a tweet on July 14. “That’s why we are taking action today to head this off. I am directing a multi-agency effort to step up enforcement of our existing guidelines — we are deploying teams to conduct unannounced visits to establishments across Virginia, with a focus on the Hampton Roads area.”

Northam announced that businesses have the right to deny service to anyone not wearing a mask just like they would for shirts and shoes.

The Virginia Department of Health warns citizens not to get too secure with just face coverings. Washing and sanitizing hands, as well as distancing, are also crucial factors. However, masks are still an official mandate in the commonwealth.

“While the use of cloth face coverings has been recommended during the COVID-19 outbreak, as of May 29, 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia now requires that people wear cloth face coverings when spending time in indoor public settings,” said the state health department.