Target, Kroger and Walmart to Require Employees to Mask Up as Delta Variant Spreads

The toddler was discovered sitting in a shopping carriage in the parking lot of a Target in Easton, Mass., by a shopper who called authorities about 1 p.m. Saturday, Easton police said.

Target, Kroger and Walmart are asking employees, customers to put on a facial covering as coronavirus cases spike due to the Delta variant.

As the Delta variant spreads across the country, major big box retailers are calling for employees to mask up in the fight against coronavirus, CBS News reported.

Target employees will have to wear masks starting Tuesday if they work in areas where, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a "substantial or high risk of transmission" of COVID-19 is present.

"We'll follow all local mandates, as we have throughout the pandemic, and continue to monitor guidance from the CDC closely," Target said in a statement on its website. "We will also maintain all of our health and safety protocols that include increased cleaning measures and social distancing."

Target has 1,900 stores across the country.

America’s largest grocery retailer, Kroger, is also encouraging employees, including those who are vaccinated, to wear face coverings.

"We will continue to abide by all state and local mandates and encourage all Americans to get vaccinated, including our associates," the company said in an emailed statement to CBS News.

Kroger operates nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states.

Kroger previously had encouraged only unvaccinated employees and shoppers to wear face masks.

Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, said that it too will require employees to wear a mask in areas that have high infection rates, regardless of vaccination status. It is also encouraging customers to do the same.

"We continue to watch with deep concern the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants, especially the [Delta] variant," Donna Morris, Walmart's chief people officer, wrote in the memo circulated to employees and obtained by CBS News. "We know vaccinations are our solution to drive change. We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated."

Publix, a Southeast grocery store with over 1,200 locations, also announced that all store employees, vaccinated or not, must "wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix location," effective immediately.

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