Walmart to require workers to wear masks; plans to hire 50,000 more employees

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA/CNN Newsource) — Walmart released a statement Friday requiring all employees to wear masks and face coverings at work.

The new mask or face covering policy for workers starts on Monday, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Walmart said it is hiring 50,000 new workers, after hitting its previous goal of hiring 150,000 new employees more than six weeks ahead of schedule.

The company announced Friday the new hires for temporary or part-time positions gives Walmart the “opportunity to provide additional staffing in key areas where it’s needed most,” including at its stores, fulfillment and distribution centers.

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The workers are needed to satisfy customers’ insatiable demand for household goods and groceries, as most of the nation is under shelter-in-place restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart is America’s largest grocer and one of the few big-box retailers that remain open.

According to a press release, since then, they had over 1 million applicants, hiring an average of 5,000 people per day.

Hiring will be across our stores, clubs, fulfillment and distribution centers, but this won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach, according to the release.

See below for full statement about requiring masks for workers:

Throughout this pandemic, your health and well-being has been our top priority. It was just over a month ago that we announced our COVID-19 emergency leave policy, and since then, we have taken more steps to protect you, our customers and our members with the guidance of our state and local public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as our company’s own Chief Medical Officer. 

Today, we are sharing another step: We will begin requiring that associates wear masks or other face coverings at work. This includes our stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, as well as in our corporate offices. We’ll also be encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop with us. We have evolved our policy on face coverings from optional to mandatory as public health guidance has shifted. The CDC now recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help curb the spread of the virus. Although most state and local governments do not mandate the use of face coverings in public settings, the CDC has reported that recent studies show a significant portion of individuals with the virus lack symptoms and can transmit the virus. With this knowledge, we believe it is simply in everyone’s best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease.  

Starting Monday, you’ll be required to wear a face covering at work. You can provide your own as long as it meets certain guidelines, or we will provide you with one as you pass your associate health screen and temperature check. We’re also aware there may need to be exceptions to this policy based on local laws and individual health needs. 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. They do not guarantee against the spread of this virus, and they do not replace the most important steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe: 6-20-100. Whether at work or elsewhere, practice six feet of social distancing whenever possible. Regularly wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. And if you have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, stay home. 

We’re also announcing today that we are extending our emergency leave policy through the end of May to ensure you have the support you need when you have to miss work. Thank you for your commitment to helping ensure Walmart and Sam’s Club are safe places to work and shop. Together, we are providing a critical service for communities across the country. During this extraordinary time, our customers and members need us more than ever. Thank you for being there for them and each other.

The Walmart news release said it will continue to hire new associates through its expedited hiring process – from application to offer as quickly as 24 hours. There are two ways for candidates to apply: by visiting the careers website or by texting ‘jobs’ to 240240.

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