Publix and Kroger join growing list of stores requiring customers to wear masks

"We know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities," the company said.
Florida, Fort Myers, Publix, supermarket Entrance
Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Publix Super Markets, Inc. has joined the growing list of retail outlets that will mandate masks for customers.

“Beginning July 21, customers are required to use face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix store. This new mandate is encouraged by the CDC for most individuals. Thank you for doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19,” the company announced in a statement on Thursday.

Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.

The company is the latest to make customers wear masks, following a similar move by Walmart earlier this week.

"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," the company said in a statement.

"According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance."

Earlier this week, CVS issued a mask requirement for shoppers, while Costco and Whole Foods had begun instituting such a policy back in May.

Publix also reiterated the importance of social distancing in its stores while sharing the steps it has taken to maintain customer safety.

Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.

“The CDC also recommends we keep our distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus," reads the statement. "Publix has put into place new measures to help our customers maintain social distancing with other customers and our associates."

“Our aisles are now one-way to reduce your chances of passing another shopper. We’ve marked off 6-foot increments at checkout. And finally, our managers have discretion to limit the number of shoppers in the store at one time. There is one more thing you can do to help: Please shop alone, if you can. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding to help us all achieve the important goal of social distancing.”

The country's largest grocery chain, Kroger, also said Wednesday that customers will need to wear masks, effective next week.

“With the increase in #COVID19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus,” the company tweeted. “Starting July 22, we will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask, joining our associates who continue to wear masks."