Walmart has dropped the requirement of masks for customers and members who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while they are at the store. This is based on the latest guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late last week. The retail giant also announced a cash bonus for all fully vaccinated associates.
According to a memo to its U.S. field associates, the retailer said fully vaccinated associates will not need to wear a mask at work starting Tuesday, May 18. It will also provide $75 to U.S. field associates as a thank you for getting vaccinated.
Walmart wrote in the memo, “Beginning today, vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask, and we will continue to request that non-vaccinated customers and members wear face coverings in our stores and clubs.”
The CDC guidance said “it is safe for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.” It clarifies that “Fully vaccinated” means it has been two weeks since a person received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson.
Walmart said this applies to all facilities, including its stores, clubs, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and offices. However, it will share more information next week with campus office associates.
Meanwhile, Walmart has asked non-vaccinated customers and associates to still wear face coverings in its stores and clubs as per CDC guidance. It will also review whether masks may still be required for certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes. However, some of the fully vaccinated associates may also choose to continue to wear masks.
Masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and Walmart will continue follow those requirements. There may also be local conditions, regulatory changes or laws that affect this guidance.
As for the cash bonus, it will be applicable to all current U.S. field-based Walmart, Sam’s Club and Supply Chain associates (hourly and salaried) below the level of facility manager. It will be given to fully vaccinated associates now and in the future. The bonus of $75 will be added to their paycheck after it is processed.
Walmart is encouraging all associates to get vaccinated and help end this pandemic, while also helping in reach the national vaccination goals by the Fourth of July. It is also providing up to three days paid leave for adverse reactions to the vaccine.
The retailer added that it is offering vaccines in all of its more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies, as well as through special events. A person can make an appointment through the schedulers, or can simply walk into the pharmacy to get their shot for free.
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