Shoppers at one of Kodiak’s largest retail stores will soon be required to wear masks, as part of the national chain’s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Kodiak’s Walmart manager, Jason Jardine, says the store’s mask requirement takes effect on Monday, July 20.
Jardine says he doesn’t expect it will cause too many problems, but will require extra staffing.
“We’ll have a person that stands at the front to monitor that, from the time we open, until the time we close every day,” Jardine said. “A large majority of people are already wearing masks when they come to the store, so I don’t think it’s going to impact a lot.”
Jardine says it’s important for shoppers to bring their own masks, because the store will not provide them.
Walmart’s national office released a statement that said about 65 percent of its stores, including Sam’s Clubs, are already in communities with mask mandates. The company says the move to a nationwide mask requirement was to make everything consistent.
Alaska has eight Walmart stores. Shoppers in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak and Ketchikan will be affected.
Other businesses in Kodiak are mandating masks.
On Monday, Wells Fargo Bank, required both employees and customers to cover their faces.
The Kodiak branch of Wells Fargo says most of its customers already wear masks, so it hasn’t been a problem.
David Kennedy, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, says the bank’s polices are in line with public health recommendations.
“We have free face coverings available for customers who do not have their own,” Kennedy said.
Editor’s Note: Abbey Collins from Alaska Public Media contributed to this story.