As CVS and Walmart Make Masks Mandatory, Should Dealers Follow Suit?

Effective July 20th, CVS Health will require that all customers wear face masks while shopping in their stores nationwide. Walmart has also announced that all their shoppers in the United States will also be required to wear masks while in the store.

A statement from CVS COO Jon Roberts says, “With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we’re joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20.

“To be clear, we’re not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer. What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering.”

WalmartWalmart’s announcement explains that the bog box chain is expanding on regulations that already apply to 65 percent of their 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores nationwide. Enforcement will be through a newly-created role that seems like it will be positioned alongside the greeter. “To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols.

“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities.

“Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the entrance to remind those without a mask of our new requirements.”

CVS Health and Walmart join a lengthy list of retailers who require shoppers to wear masks including Kohls (effective July 20th), Best Buy (effective July 15th), Starbucks, Walgreens, Costco, and many others. 

Should Dealers Make Masks Mandatory?

State-wide face covering orders are in place for many states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Washington. For most, face masks are required when in public spaces. For a few, establishments are required to refuse service to customers not wearing a mask.

Dealership personnel should certainly be abiding by state laws and regulations as much as they are able. But should face coverings be mandatory where it isn’t legislated? That’s up to the dealership to determine based on the pros and cons. 

Benefits of Requiring Mask Use

For auto retail, there can be positives that come from going further than promoting the use of face coverings and making them mandatory. 

  • It demonstrates social responsibility to staff and customers, painting the dealership in a positive light.
  • Some consumers may feel more comfortable visiting your store in person if masks are required.
  • It may decrease the infection rate among staff, reducing lost time and boosting morale. 

Risks for Mask Restrictions

Yet, requiring everyone to abide by a rule that’s not law in your area can come with a downside.  You may find that: 

  • Some customers choose other less stringent dealers rather than visiting yours. This can include loyal, long-time customers. 
  • You may need to compensate for the extra inconvenience as customers use higher rates of pickup and drop-off services and remote sales processes. 
  • It can aggravate clients who arrive and are turned away, not knowing that masks are mandatory. 

Another contentious issue has to do with enforcement. If you choose to make masks required in your dealership, there will likely be circumstances of patrons trying to skirt the rule. Even Walmart has yet to decide to what degree they will enforce their mask policy.

It could eventually be legislated that mask use is mandatory in nearly all public situations in the United States. Until that happens, dealers will need to determine which side of the line they fall on, and they will need to establish policies regarding implementation and enforcement.

Did you enjoy this article from Jason Unrau? Read other articles from him here.

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