Coronavirus: Best Buy joins growing list of retailers requiring face masks as COVID-19 cases surge

Coronavirus: Best Buy joins growing list of retailers requiring face masks as COVID-19 cases surge
Facade of Best Buy electronics retail store on Santana Row in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, Jan. 3, 2020. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Beginning Wednesday, shoppers must wear a mask to enter Best Buy stores nationwide.

“This new requirement, which starts July 15, will help protect not only our shoppers and communities, but also the tens of thousands of Best Buy employees working to serve our customers each day,” the company stated in a news release].

The Minneapolis-based electronics retailer joins a growing list of those across the country requiring coronavirus-conscious safety measures as the number of COVID-19 infections continue to surge.

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According to the news release, the electronics giant will provide face coverings for customers without one and is encouraging anyone anxious about the in-store experience to shop the Best Buy app or website, both of which offer either home delivery or curbside pickup.

“Best Buy believes relevant statewide policies requiring masks are an appropriate public health response in protecting frontline retail workers and customers from the growing spread of COVID-19,” the company stated.

The company will also allow small children and those unable to wear a mask for health reasons to enter stores without masks.

Retailers nationwide have been embroiled in a debate about the effectiveness and enforcement of masks in public spaces, the Star Tribune reported.

And while an increasing number of states and cities have mandated mask use while in public, the lion’s share of enforcement duties has fallen on store employees, resulting in a flood of viral video confrontations, the newspaper reported.

According to USA Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association is petitioning governors to mandate nationwide mask use because varying local requirements are creating confusion and boosting the number of customer-employee confrontations. The association represents Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other major chains.