Walmart Reinstates Mask Policy As Delta Variant Cases Rise

Store managers will receive local updates every Monday to determine their establishment’s necessary protocol.

Guests will not be required to wear a mask, but facilities will post signs to remind them of the CDC’s new guidelines and strongly encourage the use of masks.

While Walmart (WMT) does not require employees to be vaccinated, it will soon be implementing a new process to check their immunization status and strongly encourages workers to be vaccinated. As part of its campaign for vaccination, the company is offering employees the opportunity to be vaccinated during the time and up to three days of paid leave for any reaction to the vaccine.

Plus, Walmart is doubling its current vaccine incentive to $ 150. Originally, the company offered employees $ 75 for the vaccine. Current employees who get vaccinated and new employees who were vaccinated before starting at Walmart are all eligible to receive the bonus.

The decision to reinstate a mask warrant follows updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday, recommending that fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in areas with high rates of. high transmission of Covid-19. This currently includes nearly two-thirds of all US counties.
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Walmart first implemented a mandatory mask policy for all buyers and employees in July 2020. The company then repealed its policy in May following updated guidance from the CDC that fully vaccinated people could safely without masks in most circumstances. However, since the CDC’s initial guidelines for the repeal of mask warrants, the Delta variant has caused an increase in the number of cases as the vaccination rate has lagged behind.
Most other major retailers, including Target (CBDY), Trader Joe’s, Publix and Costco also dropped mask mandates in May, but are now reassessing their policies.

Maria Brous, spokesperson for Publix, said the company “is reviewing updated CDC guidelines” and “will provide updates regarding our policies, as appropriate,” following the new guidelines on Tuesday.

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Enforcing mask rules with customers has been a challenge for retailers throughout the pandemic. Employees are often tasked with monitoring customer behaviors and interactions have turned violent. Last month, a Georgia grocery clerk was killed by a customer in a dispute over masks.
As the pandemic persists, customers are urged to “be attentive to the advice provided by local retailers “and” to respect employees and their fellow customers who may continue to wear masks for their safety and that of their families, “said Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Tuesday.

– Nathaniel Meyersohn of CNN Business contributed to this report.

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