WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation issued the following statement encouraging all retailers to adopt a nationwide policy that requires customers to wear face coverings or masks to protect the health and well-being of customers, associates and partners during the coronavirus pandemic:
The health and safety of associates and customers is retailers' number one priority and wearing a face covering or mask is scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. NRF applauds the leadership of companies like Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Apple, Qurate Retail Group, Costco and others that have implemented nationwide mask mandates.
We hope today’s announcement by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – that it will be enforcing a policy requiring customers to wear a mask to shop in their stores is a tipping point in this public health debate. Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers of all sizes have been on the front lines safely serving customers and supporting their communities. Stores are private businesses that can adopt policies permitted by law for the health and safety of their associates and their customers. Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk.
As noted in a letter we co-signed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and other industry groups that was sent to President Trump, Vice President Pence and governors across the country two weeks ago, it is critically important that we have a national mask standard implemented locally. Retailers are protecting the health and safety of communities they serve. Our elected leaders need to set politics aside and follow their example.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.