Business

Walmart will require workers to wear masks in high-risk container stores

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People wearing protective masks shop at a Walmart store on May 18, 2021 in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Walmart said Friday that it will begin applying for masks for high-risk container workers in the United States as determined by the latest CDC rankings, regardless of vaccination status and effective immediately.

Buyers are strongly encouraged to wear masks in stores, but they will not be required, the retailer said in a note sent to staff.

Walmart said it is adding signage near the entrances to its stores and store clubs to remind customers of the CDC’s revised guide. The company will review the mask rules of stores every week thereafter.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new recommendation calling for wearing new face masks in areas of the country where the Covid-19 virus spreads most quickly. That covers about two-thirds of all counties in the United States.

The decision came about two months after the May CDC said vaccinated people could go without masks. That’s when Walmart also stopped asking for masks for vaccinated workers and customers. The delta variant, however, took over the houses and led the agency to reevaluate.

Walmart also said it would double the incentive for staff to get a Covid vaccine, at $ 150. Employees who have already received the $ 75 incentive will receive another $ 75 in their salary dated Aug. 19, 2011. company said Friday.

Walmart will soon implement a new process to verify vaccination status for U.S. employees. We plan to share more details about this process in the future.

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The change in big-box policy comes just a day after Apple began asking both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers, as well as staff members, to put on masks at several of its U.S. stores. United.

Other sales companies including Macy’s and Gap have told CNBC that they are reviewing the new CDC guide and may issue updated rules in the coming days.

Kroger’s current food chain policy requires unvaccinated workers to wear masks and demands that unvaccinated customers wear masks in stores, a spokesman said.

Publix Super Markets, which operates more than 1,100 stores across most of the Southeast, now requires employees to wear masks in all locations regardless of their vaccination status.

The reversal by the CDC has put retailers in a complicated position, again. For consumers, county-by-county rules can be confusing, especially for those who are already vaccinated and feel as if they don’t need to put on a mask. And last year, when major retail chains began masking mandates, store workers were often the ones who ended up controlling bad behavior in businesses.

The CDC has now warned House lawmakers that the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, has a longer transmission window than the original Covid-19 strain and can make elderly people sick, even if they have been infected. completely vaccinated.

“We know that vaccinations are our solution to driving change,” Walmart said in the note sent to all U.S. employees. “We invite you to get vaccinated and we want to see many more of you vaccinated.”

The company also stressed that business trips should be limited to “business-critical” trips only, at this time.

Walmart is the largest retailer in the United States, with about 4,700 U.S. stores, and is the largest private employer, with about 1.6 million U.S. employees.


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