In a news release issued Wednesday evening, Kroger’s will now require all entering its facilities to wear masks. The newly issued mandate goes into effect on July 22.


The release said that the mandate was made in an effort by the company to help to continue to reduce the spready of COVID-19.


Walmart has issued a similar mandate that is set to take effect on July 20. The Walmart mandate can be viewed here.


"Kroger’s most urgent priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers while meeting our societal obligation to provide open stores, ecommerce solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain so that our communities have access to fresh, affordable food and essentials," the release said.


"As an employer, grocery provider and community partner, we have a responsibility to help keep our associates, customers and communities safe. According to the CDC, wearing a facial covering, combined with social distancing and frequent handwashing, has been scientifically proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Starting July 22, we will require all customers in all locations to wear a mask when shopping in our stores, joining our associates who continue to wear masks. We are taking this extra step now because we recognize additional precautions are needed to protect our country," the release continued.


The release did say that small children are exempt from the mandate and the company acknowledges and respects that some customers may not be able to wear a mask.


"We encourage those customers to consider an alternative option like a face shield or facial covering, the release said. "If they’re unable to wear a mask or an alternative design, we request that they use our ecommerce services like pickup or delivery."