Disposable masks will now be available at the entrance of the stores.
Photo of Whole Foods Store
Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty

With many Americans still under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, few in "non-essential" industries are aggregating in groups larger than 10 people indoors. Except for at supermarkets, where we're all becoming used to a real-life game of frogger, complete with navigating one-way aisles and steering our carts in loops to provide a six-foot bubble.

While shoppers can attempt to avoid the worst of the germ warfare by timing trips right and ordering delivery, the people staffing the grocery stores often have much less control over how many people they come into fairly close contact with on a daily basis.

That's why many major retailers have installed plexiglass barriers to separate checkers and those paying, have instituted more frequent disinfecting procedures, and some have even added "dark hours," during which only online orders can be fulfilled, to reduce customer traffic and exposure.

Now, Whole Foods Market is making it official in a public statement on April 30 that all customers should wear masks in stores. (As a reminder, the CDC recommends that we all wear face coverings in public to protect others around us—not us.) To make it possible for everyone to follow the rules—even those who don't have their own fabric face masks—next week, all U.S. Whole Foods Market locations will start offering free, disposable masks to all customers when they arrive to shop.

This is part of Amazon's larger COVID-19 strategy, which has also included investing $800 million to provide more than 100 million masks to all Amazon associates, delivery partners and Whole Foods Market Team Members.

Earlier this week, Costco announced that face masks will be mandatory at all of their U.S. stores. Customers are required to bring their own. (Still need to make one? Here's the easiest DIY version, which meets all CDC standards.)