Walmart and Sam’s Club will require all employees to wear masks or other face coverings starting Monday (Today) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Shoppers also will be encouraged to wear face masks as part of the retailers’ updated COVID-19 response.
The retail giant announced the changes in a letter sent to employees that was posted on Walmart.com late Friday.
The employee policy is for U.S. stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, and corporate offices, according to the letter written by Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner and Sam’s Club CEO Kath McLay.
“We have evolved our policy on face coverings from optional to mandatory as public health guidance has shifted,” the letter said. “The CDC now recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help curb the spread of the virus.”
Throughout this pandemic, the health and well-being of store associates has been Walmart’s top priority.
“It was just over a month ago that we announced our COVID-19 emergency leave policy, and since then, we have taken more steps to protect you, our customers and our members with the guidance of our state and local public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as our company’s own Chief Medical Officer,” the CEOs said in their letter.
This includes stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, as well as in our corporate offices.
Walmart also encourages customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop.
“Although most state and local governments do not mandate the use of face coverings in public settings, the CDC has reported that recent studies show a significant portion of individuals with the virus lack symptoms and can transmit the virus,” the letter stated. “With this knowledge, we believe it is simply in everyone’s best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease.”
Starting Monday, associates will be required to wear a face covering at work.
They are allowed to provide their own as long as it meets certain guidelines, or the stores will provide them with one as they pass their associate health screen and temperature check.
Walmart also announced that they are extending their associate emergency leave policy through the end of May to ensure they have the support needed if they have to miss work.