Starting Monday, associates at Walmart and Sam’s Club, as well as both distribution center and corporate office employees, must wear masks or other face coverings, according to a news release.
“We believe it is simply in everyone’s best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease,” the retail giant noted, referring to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus that The Epoch Times refers to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.
Employees will be able to use face coverings of their choosing as long as they meet certain guidelines, Walmart stated, adding that “local laws and individual health needs” may be grounds for exceptions.
Shoppers are also being encouraged to wear masks, the retail giant said in the release.
“We have evolved our policy on face coverings from optional to mandatory as public health guidance has shifted,” the company stated. “The CDC now recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help curb the spread of the virus.”
“In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the agency noted.
Speaking of the policy shift, Walmart said in the release: “We hope this step will promote safety and consistency across all of our facilities and be of comfort to our customers and members.”
“However, it’s important to remember that face coverings are simply an additional health precaution,” Walmart added.
In a separate note, Walmart outlined additional guidance to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re asking them to remember three numbers: 6, 20 and 100,” the company said.
“6 feet is the amount of space people should keep from others, when possible, to maintain social distancing. 20 seconds is the amount of time people should take to wash their hands with soap and water. And 100 is the temperature that someone should stay home with,” Walmart said.
Walmart’s announcement comes as other companies pivot in their mask-wearing policies.
Amazon in early April told employees in a memo cited by Business Insider that it was “recommended” they wear a face mask at work.
Target announced in an April 16 release that that it would provide employees with masks and gloves and that it would “strongly encourage” them to wear the protective equipment at work.
“The measures we’re announcing today are aimed at ensuring we are creating a safe environment for the guests who continue to turn to Target, while also providing our team with additional resources as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country,” said Target CEO John Mulligan.
McDonald’s, which until recently reportedly discouraged employees from wearing masks unless they had medical reasons for doing so, is now working to provide masks for their staff, according to a Business Insider report.
As of Saturday afternoon, according to a Johns Hopkins tally, there were over 718,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The death toll from the virus nationwide was over 37,700.