Management of both Sam's Club and Walmart stores in the United States issued a joint release on Wednesday informing the public that masks will be mandatory beginning July 20 in an effort to keep the public safe from COVID-19.

In an announcement posted to the Walmart corporate newsroom's website on July 15, 2020, all U.S. Walmart and Sam's Club locations will require customers to wear protective face masks when shopping. The release, which was issued jointly by Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith, as well as Sam's Club Chief Operating Officer Lance de la Rosa, listed the health of its employees, customers and members as the reason behind the decision.

Prior to the July 15 release, approximately 65% of the stores already had mandatory mask requirements set. Executives for both chains chose July 20 as a way to allow word to get around before the mandate will be enforced, according to the release.

The Coronavirus has now infected more than 3.3 million Americans, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 135,000 deaths have also been linked to the virus.

Worldwide, the number of people that have tested positive has exceeded 13 million, with approximately 573,000 deaths linked to COVID-19. The state of Idaho now has reported more than 11,700 confirmed cases, resulting in approximately 103 deaths.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, fatigue and a lingering, dry cough. The CDC urges anyone who believes they might have contracted the virus to seek immediate medical care.

READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19

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