Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Walmart will require all customers to wear face masks beginning next week in all of its 5,000 company-owned stores, in addition to its Sam's Club locations, the company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and the latest in a string of national chains — including Costco and Starbucks — to mandate masks for customers.

  • The company notes that 65% of its stores are located in areas where "there is some form of government mandate on face coverings."
  • Walmart says the mandate is meant to "help bring consistency across stores and clubs."

Walmart also said it would have "Health Ambassadors" stationed near the entrances of stores to remind customers without masks of the new requirements.

What they're saying: "We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC," the company wrote in a press release.

  • "We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our customers and members in wearing face coverings to protect their safety and the safety of our associates."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Walmart has over 5,000 stores in the U.S., not 9,000.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 18,912,947 — Total deaths: 710,318— Total recoveries — 11,403,473Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 4,867,916 — Total deaths: 159,841 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP over stimulus negotiations: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Majority of Americans say states reopened too quicklyFauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: The health care sector imploded in Q2More farmers are declaring bankruptcyJuly's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.