Retail company requiring employees to get vaccinated and wear masks

A man and a child wearing face masks walk past a Walmart store in Washington, DC on July 15, 2020 (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP via Getty Images)

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – In a memo, Walmart announced that associates who work at multiple establishments and associates in its campus office will need to be vaccinated by October 4.

“We have made this decision to require that all Market, Regional and Division Associates who work in multiple institutions and all Associates in Campus offices be vaccinated by October 4, unless they have an approved exception. . This includes all new hires, ”Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a note to KNWA.

Walmart also demanded that associates, including those fully vaccinated, wear masks in its stores on Friday.

The Bentonville, Ark.-Based retailer is following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made earlier this week. The agency said on Tuesday that even those vaccinated would have to resume wearing masks indoors in parts of the United States where the coronavirus is on the rise.

Walmart says its return to mask requirements is due to “worrying levels of transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.” The company dropped the mask requirement for customers 11 weeks ago.

In COVID hotspots where mask warrants exist, masks will be required for associates inside company facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers, distribution centers and campus offices.

In an effort to get more people vaccinated, Walmart said it was doubling its incentive for associates to get vaccinated from $ 75 to $ 150 for associates.

“This includes new associates from their first day in these roles at Walmart, even though they were vaccinated months ago,” the company said. Associates who have already received $ 75 will receive an additional $ 75. The incentive program runs until October 4.

Walmart says associates will receive two hours of paid time off to get vaccinated. The company is also offering up to three days of paid leave for any possible adverse reaction 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 have made ourselves more vulnerable to variants,” the company said. “It is important that the necessary measures are taken to ensure our safety and that of our communities. “

Walmart encourages these associates to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible, as it takes two weeks after the final dose to be fully vaccinated.

Further information will be communicated to associates on immunization requirements and steps to verify immunization status.

“We want to get to a place where we can use our offices and be safe together. It’s important to our business, our culture, our speed and our innovation, ”the company said. “As you know, we are gradually returning to our office spaces with the idea of ​​getting closer to pre-pandemic levels after Labor Day. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine later if this schedule needs to be adjusted. “

McMillon also states in the note that business travel to stores, clubs, distribution centers and distribution centers is permitted.

“However, travel should be limited to critical travel only and associates should continue to look for ways to participate virtually in supplier meetings and conferences,” he said.

Walmart offers the vaccine for free at one of its more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies. You can make an appointment through the planners or go to the pharmacy to get vaccinated.

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Anne G. Cash

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