Most grocery stores in Minnesota now require shoppers to wear face masks

As cities mandate masks and health officials recommend them, more retailers are starting to require them.

The list of grocery stores that do or will require that shoppers wear face coverings is growing as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Minnesota and the United States.

In the past few weeks, Target, Walmart, Sam's Club, Whole Foods, Coborn's, Cash Wise, Marketplace Foods, Aldi, Cub Foods, Trader Joe'sLunds & Byerlys and Kowalski's Markets have all said they'll require face masks. 

Cub was the latest to announce a face mask requirement, which will go into effect next Tuesday.

"Throughout the past several months, we’ve taken the necessary steps to provide essential food and grocery items, while enhancing our safety and sanitation protocols. Wearing face coverings while shopping at Cub stores is simply the right thing to do and helps us take care of each other by creating an additional layer of defense against the spread of COVID-19,” said Mike Stigers, Cub CEO.

The Minnesota Grocers Association back in late April began encouraging shoppers to wear masks but it hasn't publicly said if grocery stores should require that shoppers are masked. (BMTN has reached out for comment.)

But that hasn't stopped grocery stores from implementing mask mandates. Some have done so to keep it consistent across all their stores as some are located within cities that have mandated masks when inside public places or stores. 

Minnesota has yet to require masks statewide (Gov. Tim Walz says he's considering it amid pressure from various industry leaders), but cities have started issuing mask mandates. Duluth, Edina, Excelsior, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, St. Paul, Rochester and Winona are among the cities that have or will implement mask requirements for indoor public spaces and businesses. Other cities, including Bloomington, St. Cloud and Wayzata, are considering mask mandates.

Mask requirements went into effect at several grocery stores on Monday, July 20, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kowalski's Markets, Sam's Club and Walmart. The St. Cloud Times reports face-covering requirements began at Coborn's, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods on Monday as well. 

Meanwhile, the start date for other grocery stores' mask requirements are later:

  • Aldi will require masks starting July 27
  • Cub Foods will require masks starting July 28.
  • Lunds & Byerlys will require them starting July 31
  • Target will require masks as of Aug. 1

Hy-Vee is encouraging that shoppers wear masks, but it is not a requirement. When BMTN asked a Hy-Vee spokesperson if the grocery chain is considering a mask mandate, Christina Gayman said, "Nothing to share at this time."

Costco was among the first retailers to require shoppers to wear masks. The requirement began May 4, and in the weeks since many other retailers and big-box stores have made masks mandatory, including Menards (effective early May), Home Depot (effective July 15), Lowes (effective July 20) and Best Buy (effective July 15).

With many grocery stores and big-box retailers, the mask rule doesn't apply to children or people who are medically unable to wear a face covering. For those who don't want to mask up, retailers have said they can use curbside pick-up or delivery options instead. 

Some grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Kowalski's and Lunds & Byerlys, will provide masks or have them available to purchase if a shopper comes in without a mask.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

CDC encourages widespread mask use

At the start of the pandemic, state and federal health officials did not encourage people to wear homemade masks, but as scientists learned more about the novel coronavirus, their position on masks changed.

Now, the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommend people wear masks when they're out in public – especially inside where physical distancing can be difficult to maintain.

The CDC last week said there is now evidence that face coverings, even homemade ones, prevent the spread of the virus, especially when used by everyone in a community.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The main protection people get from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings, the CDC says.

Next Up

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.


COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.

parker eisinger

Lakeville football player diagnosed with cancer week before playoffs

The tenth-grader was diagnosed with a form of cancer most commonly found in people aged 65 and older.

University of Minnesota peeping tom suspect

Someone keeps trying to film showering women at U of M

The university has received three reports in the past two weeks.

john Fluevog shoes 1

John Fluevog Shoes closes its Uptown Minneapolis store

The brand could return to the Twin Cities one day.

sidecar drink

Sidecar — Town Hall's new cocktail lounge — is officially open in Minneapolis

It's the fifth Town Hall location, but the first to focus on cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Here's where DFLers stand on Minneapolis' public safety ballot question

The question would create a Department of Public Safety and remove some requirements.

Arthur Kollie

Man pleads guilty to brutal murder of 14-year-old girl in Fargo

The 14-year-old girl was the victim of a random attack outside a Fargo strip mall.

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates 2021 - jacob frey sheila nezhad kate knuth

Here's who has endorsed the frontrunners for Minneapolis mayor

Politicians and community groups are voicing their opinions.


coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski's will require shoppers to wear masks

The main protection people get from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings, the CDC says.

Best Buy

Best Buy now requiring shoppers wear face masks in its stores

The Richfield retailer announced its new policy on Tuesday.

walmart mask

Walmart, Sam's Club will require shoppers to wear masks in all stores

This comes as the CDC said Tuesday, "Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus."


Menards is requiring shoppers to wear face masks

Other stores require face masks as effectiveness is questioned.

Target store

Target, CVS to start requiring that shoppers wear masks in stores

The CDC says wearing a mask is "one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus."

face mask

Edina makes wearing a mask mandatory to slow spread of COVID-19

State department of health and the CDC recommend wearing face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

face mask

Coronavirus: This is the correct way to wear a face mask

Your mask protects others and their mask protects you.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Map shows where Minnesotans are wearing masks, everywhere they're not

In most of Minnesota, people are not wearing face masks in public despite the fact it can help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.