Walmart will require employees in high COVID-19 transmission areas to wear masks again

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FILE – This June 25, 2019, file photo shows the entrance to a Walmart in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart will require associates and those who are fully vaccinated to wear masks in stores where new CDC guidelines recommend the measures, according to a statement on Friday, July 30.

The retailer is following the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that was made earlier this week. The reason for the “masking” is due to “the concerning levels of transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.”

In counties and where there are state or local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the health and well-being of our associates continue to be our top priority,” Walmart executive VP Health & Wellness Dr. Cheryl Pegus/Chief People Officer Donna Morris.

The company acknowledged and took into consideration associates who cannot get vaccinated due to medical issues or religious reasons, according to the statement.

“We are paying associates in stores, clubs, transportation offices, distribution centers and fulfillment centers to receive it and are now DOUBLING the incentive amount. We have been paying associates $75 to get vaccinated and are now increasing that amount to $150 for associates in stores, clubs, TOs, DCs and FCs. This includes new associates on their first day in these roles at Walmart, even if they were vaccinated months ago. Associates who already received the $75 incentive will receive $75 more on their Aug. 19 paychecksThis incentive program will remain in place until Oct. 4, 2021.”

Walmart statement

Walmart says associates can be vaccinated while on the clock and receive two hours of paid time off. Walmart is also providing up to three days of paid leave for any possible adverse reactions to the vaccine. Its COVID-19 leave policy is also still in place.

As a country, vaccination options have been available for months, but, unfortunately, because so many people have chosen not to receive it, we’ve left ourselves more vulnerable to variants. The Delta variant is a mutation of the original COVID-19 virus and is much more aggressive and transmissible. It is important that necessary steps are taken to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

Walmart statement

The company’s next step will be to create a new process for verification of vaccine status for U.S. associates (subject to legal requirements). Meanwhile, the daily health screening process for all associates — Walmart or Sam’s Club facility, DC, FC, or our campus offices Walmart or Sam’s Club facility, DC, FC, or our campus offices — will continue.

CDC COVID-19 MAP

Wal-Mart has 60 locations across Iowa. According to CDC COVID data, about half of Iowa counties currently have high or substantially high transmission rates. Polk County is not included in that list but some of Iowa’s other most populous counties – including Dallas, Story, Marshall, Linn, Black Hawk, Scott and Pottawattamie are included and associates in stores there would be required to wear masks.

Walmart is offering the vaccine for free at any of their 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies.

CDC: Current 7-days are Wed Jul 21, 2021 – Tue July 27, 2021, for case rate and Tue July 20, 2021 – Mon Jul 26, 2021, for percent positivity. The percent change in counties at each level of transmission is the absolute change compared to the previous 7-day period.
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You can get the vaccine at any of more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies. You can make an appointment through the schedulers, or you can walk into the pharmacy to get your shot. You can also get vaccinated at many other locations in your community.

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