Walmart Will Issue New Mask Mandate For Employees In Some Stores

By Jason Hall

July 30, 2021

Surgical mask on white background
Photo: Getty Images

Walmart announced it plans to issue a mask mandate for employees, regardless of vaccination status, in stores located in areas with "substantial or high transmission."

CNN reports Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., will enforce the policy immediately upon its initial announcement in a statement issued on Friday (July 30).

Walmart store managers will receive weekly updates on local COVID-19 transmission rates every Monday while determining if their facility will change its plans moving forward.

Customers will not be required to masks, but local stores will post signs with reminders of the CDC's new guidelines strongly encouraging masks to be worn.

Walmart still isn't mandating its employees to get vaccinated, but strongly encourages workers to do so and plans to implement a new process to verify vaccine status.

The company also plans to offer employees the chance to get vaccinated while on the clock and is offering up to three days paid leave should an employee have a reaction to their shot.

Walmart also plans to double its current vaccine incentive to $150 after previously offering employees $75 to get vaccinated. The company is also offering payment to new employees who received the vaccine before starting at Walmart.

Walmart's new mask mandate comes after the CDC updated its guidelines for COVID-19, recommending that fully vaccinated people continue wearing masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates of COVID-19.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. counties are currently considered areas with high transmission rates as of Friday.

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