Walmart and others will still serve customers who refuse to wear masks, despite new rules
"Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Lowe's (LOW), Walgreens (WBA), CVS (CVS) and others say they still won't prohibit customers who refuse to wear a mask from shopping in stores. The issue, they say, is they want to avoid confrontations between angry customers and employees.
... In recent weeks, videos of confrontations between angry customers and clerks at Costco (COST), Target (TGT) and other stores over these rules have gone viral. Companies want to avoid such incidents.
Walmart, the largest retailer in the country, said it would station employees it calls health ambassadors at the entrance of stores to remind shoppers about mask compliance as they enter.
But a short training video for health ambassadors makes clear there are limits to the job. If a customer refuses to wear a mask, health ambassadors are instructed to let the customer into the store and notify management "so that they can determine the next steps."
In talking points for Walmart ambassadors and management, a member of management is instructed to ask if the customer would like a complimentary mask. If the customer refuses, "let them continue to shop," the talking points say. The video tells ambassadors never to engage with a customer physically or try to block their entrance into the store.
"With every requirement there are exceptions that have been established to avoid escalating the situation and putting our associates in harm's way," a Walmart representative said. "Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation in the stores."