BREAKING: Kroger will soon require all customers to wear masks

Kroger is doing away with single-use plastic bags, replacing them with reusable bags across all stores. “As part of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, we are phasing out use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags and transitioning to reusable bags in our stores by 2025." Some experts estimate that 100 billion single-use bags are thrown away every year in the United States. The QFC brand of stores will be the first to lose the bags, followed by all other lines in the family of stores.

Kroger has become the second major national retailer to implement a mandatory mask rule at its thousands of stores in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kroger will require its customers and its employees to wear masks, starting July 22, according to a company spokersperson. Walmart, one of the biggest retailers in the world, also announced it would require masks at its stores where there were no government mandates for masks in public. That requirement will begin July 20. Both retailers said the efforts would help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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“We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country,” the nation’s largest supermarket chain said Wednesday in a statement. Kroger said it would make an exception for customers with medical reasons as well as small children.

Best Buy and Starbucks started requiring consumers nationwide to wear masks Wednesday.

At Starbucks and Walmart, incidents have sparked regarding customers wearing or not wearing masks. Last month, a Starbucks worker in California was blasted on social media for refusing service to a customer who did not wear a protective mask.

The customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, posted a photo of a barista, Lenin Gutierrez, who reportedly denied her service. The incident led to Gutierrez receiving more than $85,000 in tips via a GoFundMe account due to many people supporting his decision to not serve the maskless woman.

In April, a video circulated of a Black man at an Illinois Walmart who was escorted out of the store for wearing a mask. The video was viewed more than 120,000 times.

“This officer right here behind us...just followed us in the store...He just followed us from outside, told us that we cannot wear masks,” the man says to the camera. “There’s a presidential order. There’s a state order, and he’s following us outside the store. We’re being asked to leave for staying safe.”

The Wood River Police Department later said the officer who removed the man from the store was “mistaken when it came to the store’s policy prohibiting masks” and it was “the one error” made in the incident, Police Chief Brad Wells said.

Several communities, states and government agencies have implemented the mask requirement as some Americans continue to be resistant to using masks as a way to limit the spread of the virus.

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