A Carr’s grocery store at the Midtown Mall in Anchorage is seen in November 2019. Albertsons, the parent company of Carrs and Safeway, announced Thursday it would require shoppers to wear masks starting July 21. (Photo: Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

Add Carrs and Safeway to the growing list of national chain stores that will require customers to wear face coverings as a precaution against spreading COVID-19. Albertsons, the Idaho-based parent company, says locations nationwide — including in Alaska — will make masks mandatory beginning Tuesday.

In a statement published Thursday, the grocery giant says it already requires its employees to wear masks on the job. The company says it plans to extend that requirement to customers “for their protection and for that of our associates.”

The retailer didn’t say in the statement how it will enforce the rule or what options might be available to those unable to wear masks for medical reasons. Other retailers have pointed maskless patrons to curbside pickup or delivery options or allowed them to wear a less-restrictive face shield.

There are more than two dozen Safeway and Carrs grocery stores across the state, including in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Valdez, Nome, Unalaska, the Mat-Su Borough and on the Kenai Peninsula. Some already require masks due to local ordinances. 

Carrs and Safeway join Walmart, Fred Meyer, Target and many others on the list of retailers that are requiring its customers to wear masks inside their stores.