Locals react: Walmart and Sam’s Club require masks beginning Monday

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Local reaction to latest mask mandate from major retailers

UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike throughout the country, and recent face covering mandates being implemented, the nation’s largest retailer says requiring people to wear a mask is “a simple step to help keep you safe.”

As of Wednesday, Walmart Inc. said 65 percent of their more than 5,000 stores and Sam’s Club locations nationwide are in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings.

Beginning Monday, that will change, as all stores and clubs will require shoppers to wear a mask.

In the Beehive State, Utah County is one of several that encourages people to wear a mask, but does not require it in specific, public places.

Jessica Braithwaite, a Highland resident, said she and her family are excited about Walmart and Sam’s Club joining in the movement to require masks, as she is considered at high-risk if she were to contract the respiratory virus.  

“I have heart issues and so we’ve been really, really careful, and it’s hard to see people that aren’t being careful,” said Braithwaite. “Because if anything happens, something bad could happen to me.”

Braithwaite said she hopes masks become mandatory everywhere.

“It’s just too scary for people that have issues and you know, we can’t stay indoors all the time, we’ve got lives, and it’s just kind to everybody to be careful. You never know who needs it,” Braithwaite said.

Ian Nelson, an Orem resident, said he too, believes in requiring masks in public places, like stores.

“I believe in individuality and I feel like a lot of people are against being required to wear a mask, because they feel like it invades their individuality,” Nelson said. “But, we gotta understand it’s not just them we’re looking out for, but our loved ones.”

A Twitter poll shows nearly 300 users vote on if they are in support of wearing a mask in the store or not.

Some users share their thoughts with ABC4 News:

“No! You have to be an idiot to believe that a mask does anything when dealing with a respiratory virus,” wrote @MosAnonQ, who sourced an article from The New England Journal of Medicine on May 21, 2020.

“It’s private property. They make the rules,” wrote @TheExPhiles.

“I’ve been wearing a mask at Walmart, and any other public place, since this whole thing started. But good for them!” wrote another user, @KatyElizabeth81.

And @DamWilkonson said he is in support of it, but “also highly doubt[s] Walmart is going to always have masks available. They don’t even keep the sanitizers full.”

Walmart Inc. said masks will be available for those who do not have one when they enter the store.  

Recognizing not all customers may be able to wear a face covering, the company said employees will be trained on how to handle exceptions properly.

Hailey Hendricks
Hailey graduated from Utah State University in broadcast journalism. She was nominated for a student Emmy and also won a Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) award for her work on the show ‘Cache Rendezvous.’ She was also nominated for an SPJ on suicide prevention.

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