Target and CVS are the latest national retail chains requiring customers to wear masks as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket.

The companies announced the new policies on Thursday following similar moves by a growing number of retailers acting to fill a void left by local, state and federal agencies that have so far refused to set mandatory face coverings policies.

As of Thursday, only about half of the country's states require masks in public places.

CVS Chief Operating Officer Jon Roberts explained the new shopping rules come after "encouraging" customers to cover up.

But he said the recent surge in cases demands more extreme measures.

"With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20," Roberts wrote in a statement.

"To be clear, we're not asking our store employees to play the role of enforcer. What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering," he said.

On Wednesday, Walmart, Kohl's and Kroger's grocery store chain said they will be implementing similar policies.

"Currently about 65 percent of our more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings," Walmart explained in a statement.

Officials added the new requirement, which will go into effect on Monday will "help bring consistency across stores and clubs."

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