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Tri-City Walmarts to require face masks

The policy comes into affect Aug. 12
Benaz Taali or Coquitlam scours the empty meat shelves
Benaz Taali or Coquitlam scours the empty meat shelves at Coquitlam Centre's Wallmart, March 17. Taali, who worked at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam has been out of a job with a family to feed since all casinos in the province shut down to stem the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. "I can't believe it's come to this," she said.

Walmart branches in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam will soon require customers to wear a mask before entering the store. 

That’s in line with a new company-wide policy set to roll out Aug. 12 across all of Walmart’s Canadian stores. 

Already over 60% of Walmart’s 400 stores in Canada require masks because of a local government mandate, according to Walmart Canada’s manager of corporate affairs Felicia Fefer.

Fefer cited Health Canada guidance that says that, when worn properly, masks or face coverings “can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets.”

“For this reason, and to help bring more consistency across our store network, starting August 12, 2020, we are now requiring all customers and associates working in any Walmart store not already subject to a local government mandate to wear a mask or face covering in areas of our stores accessible to the public,” confirmed Fefer in an email.

That’s in addition to enhanced cleaning protocols, start of shift wellness and temperature checks for staff, limiting the total number of shoppers at once, floor markings and Plexiglass dividers — all currently in place, according to Fefer. 

The Walmart at Coquitlam Centre is among a handful of businesses across the Tri-Cities in which a staff member has fallen ill with COVID-19.

Other stores in the Tri-Cities which have already mandated mask-wearing policies include such chains as T&T Supermarket.