Walmart customers, vaccinated employees will not need to wear masks in stores

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Exterior view of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey. Walmart saw profits jump in the last quarter as e-commerce sales increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

VIEW press | Corbis News | Getty Images

Walmart said on Friday that customers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will not need to wear a mask in its stores, unless required by state or local laws.

In a note to employees, the nation’s largest retailer and grocery store said the change to its mask policy is effective immediately at Walmart stores and its membership club, Sam’s Club. As of Tuesday, he said fully vaccinated employees did not need to wear masks when working.

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The memo was from John Furner, CEO of Walmart in the United States; Kath McLay, CEO of Sam’s Club; and Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of health and wellness at Walmart.

Walmart executives pointed to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Thursday, that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask or stay six feet from each other in most cases. , whether indoors or outdoors.

Masks are still required by some city and state ordinances, and the company has said it will comply with the law.

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In the memo, Walmart executives said they “will continue to demand that customers and unvaccinated members wear face masks in our stores and clubs.” They said stores would have updated signs reflecting this new demand.

They haven’t said if, or how, Walmart will check who is or is not vaccinated.

For employees who want to work without wearing a mask at a store, distribution center or other facility, Walmart said it would check their status by asking whether or not they have been vaccinated. It will depend on the person’s yes or no answer.

“Integrity is one of our core values ​​and we are confident that associates will uphold this principle when responding,” they said in the memo.

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However, to get a vaccine-related bonus, Walmart said the employee will need to show their original, completed vaccine card to a store manager or human resources manager. Starting next Tuesday, each person is eligible to receive $ 75 “as a thank you for the vaccination”.

Walmart’s policy change is a change from other major retailers, including Target, Gap and Ulta Beauty, which have said they will keep pandemic protocols. Trader Joe’s, however, said customers can shop without wearing a mask if they are fully vaccinated.

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