Walmart mandates masks for all workers in some areas

Walmart mandates masks for all workers in some areas 1

Walmart is reversing its mask policy and will require all its workers including vaccinated one in areas with high infection rates to wear masks

NEW YORK — Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and private employer, is reversing its mask policy and will require all its workers including vaccinated one in areas with high infection rates to wear masks.

“We continue to watch with deep concern the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants, especially the delta variant,” wrote Donna Morris, Walmart’s chief people officer, in the memo circulated to employees. “We know vaccinations are our solution to drive change. We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated.”

Scott Pope, a Walmart spokesman, declined to comment on the percentage of Walmart workers who are vaccinated but told The Associated Press that the retailer has seen a “positive response” to the first incentive and is anticipating the new incentive will drive a similar response from workers.

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Walmart Inc. said it is also implementing a new process for verification of vaccine status for U.S. workers. It says it will share those details in the future.

Walmart’s shifting policy reflects the growing worry about the rising infection rates.

A few days after CDC eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people back in May, Walmart, along with a slew of other retailers, said it wouldn’t require vaccinated shoppers to wear a mask in U.S. stores, unless state or local laws said otherwise. Walmart also said that vaccinated workers could go maskless.

At that time, Walmart said that customers wouldn’t be asked but rather held to an “honor system” regarding their vaccination status. Walmart workers who didn’t wear masks also had to confirm they were vaccinated by filling out a daily questionnaire, though it was not requiring proof.

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