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Walmart starts to require workers to wear masks, encourages customers to do same amid COVID-19 outbreak
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Walmart starts to require workers to wear masks, encourages customers to do same amid COVID-19 outbreak

Virus Outbreak New Hampshire

Two shoppers wearing protective masks walk to their vehicle during a heavy rain storm after shopping at the Walmart in Epping, N.H., April 13. Walmart is now requiring its employees to wear masks and encouraging customers to do the same.

Wearing a mask at a store used to be a big no-no, but it's quickly become a social norm.

More and more retail employees around the Region are wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic that's infected more than 2.5 million people worldwide, killing more than 180,000 people around the globe.

Family Express, a Valparaiso-based chain of 75 convenience stores around Indiana, has started to provide its employees with masks. And national retail giant Walmart, which has popular superstores in Hammond, Schererville, Hobart, Portage, Valparaiso and Michigan City, is now requiring its employees to wear masks while at work.

"As the world continues to deal with the spread of COVID-19, Walmart remains focused on the health and safety of their associates and customers," Walmart said in a news release. "As a result, the company continues to implement extensive measures to help keep stores safe and clean."

Walmart has been taking various steps to create a safe environment to protect customers and employees, such as installing plexiglass sneeze guards at checkout lanes and floor decals at the checkout aisles and entrances to encourage customers to keep six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing during the pandemic.

The Arkansas-based retail giant also has made payment, pickup and delivery completely contact-free to try to limit the spread of disease.

Employees are required to wear masks or other face coverings at work and customers are encouraged to do the same.

"We know that it’s a time of uncertainty for many," Walmart said in the news release.

Gallery: Regionites mask up amid coronavirus pandemic

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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