NORTH CAROLINA – Lowe's and Home Depot announced Friday they will adopt a nationwide policy requiring customers to wear masks when shopping in their stores.

The policy will take effect on Monday, July 20 at Lowe's, and Wednesday, July 22 at Home Depot.

Lowe's says it will offer free masks at the customer service desk in every store for any customer who needs them. The masks will be available while supplies last.

Small children and anyone with a valid medical condition will not be required to wear a mask, according to a release from Home Depot

"As a retailer offering essential goods, we have a responsibility to our associates, customers and small businesses in communities nationwide to help provide a safe shopping experience," Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe's president and CEO said in a statement Friday. "Throughout this pandemic, our associates have worked tirelessly so customers could get the goods and services they needed for their homes and small businesses. For the safety of everyone in our stores, we ask that customers wear masks, and to make this new standard less restrictive, we will make masks available to those who need them."

The companies join several other nationwide chains that have adopted similar policies in recent days. Other major retailers making the announcement include Target, CVS, Walmart, Publix, and Harris Teeter.