Beginning today, Albertsons and Petco joined the ranks of Costco, Walmart and other retail businesses that are now requiring customers to wear face coverings in their stores.

Tairsa Cate Worman, public affairs manager for Albertsons, said all store associates are required to wear masks and a majority of stores in the country have already mandated that customers comply with face covering rules “for their protection and for that of our associates.”

Worman added that each of the stores undergoes regular cycles for enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection. Decals have been placed on the floor around the stores to create one-way aisles to assist customers with social distancing.

Check stands also have plexiglass partitions and customers are asked to be mindful of social distancing while standing in line.

Petco also announced requirements for customers to wear face coverings in the store, beginning this week.

“While there are varying opinions on this topics,” Petco said in a news release, “we’re committed to following guidance from health officials, like the CDC, to help ensure the safety of our guests and store associates.”

Nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported by Public Health – Idaho North Central District on Monday.

No new cases were added to Whitman, Asotin or Garfield counties.

Latah County had seven new infections, bringing its total to 48, the health department said; followed by Idaho County with one new infection for a total of 17 and Clearwater County with one new infection for a total of eight.

Six of the new cases were males and three were females. Seven of the new cases were in their 20s; one was in their 30s and one was in their 40s.

Nez Perce County remains at 115 cases and 19 deaths; Lewis County has reported no cases.

Of the 188 total cases in the five-county region, 73 are listed as recovered, along with the 19 deaths.

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.