The shelves of toilet paper and other paper products sit nearly empty on March 13, 2020, in Target of Bethlehem, Georgia, a neighboring city of Athens. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com

Last week, a succession of national grocery stores announced they will start requiring customers to wear masks in their stores.

Starting July 9, Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz mandated “facial coverings or masks shall be required in public places,” according to an ACC ordinance. Despite Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order preventing local governments from enforcing mask mandates, Girtz said he will keep ACC’s mandate in place.

While ACC requires masks in all public spaces, these six grocery stores have also implemented their own in-store mask policies.

Walmart and Sam’s Club

Owned by the same company, Walmart and Sam’s Club announced on July 15 that all customers will be required to wear masks starting on July 20, according to a company news release.

CVS Pharmacy

On July 16, CVS Pharmacy announced that all of its stores will require masks starting on July 20, according to a company news release.

“To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer,” said Jon Roberts, CVS Pharmacy’s Chief Operating Officer, in the July 16 news release. “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."


Starting Tuesday, July 21, Publix will require all of its customers to wear face masks, according to a company news release.

“This requirement will not apply to young children and those with medical conditions who are not able to wear face coverings,” the news release said. “Publix remains committed to serving customers through all channels but encourages those who are not able to wear face coverings to consider using Publix Delivery and/or Curbside Pickup.”


Starting Wednesday, July 22, Kroger will require masks or face coverings at all of its locations across the United States, according to a company news release.

“We will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask when shopping in our stores, joining our associates who continue to wear masks,” the news release said. “We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country.”


Starting on Aug. 1, Target will require all of its customers to wear face masks, according to Target’s website.

“We’re requiring guests to wear masks or face coverings in all of our stores, except for those with underlying medical conditions and young children,” according to Target’s website. “This builds on the more than 80% of our stores that already require guests to wear face coverings due to local and state regulations.”


ALDI will start requiring masks in their stores effective July 27, according to ALDI's corporate website.

"Our new face covering policy is an enhanced safety measure intended to help limit the spread of COVID-19," according to ALDI's website. "All ALDI employees will continue to wear face coverings, as they have for months."

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