Walmart to continue COVID safety measures
Walmart’s Continued Focus on COVID-19 Precautions and Associate Support
By Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S.
cases spiked, you saw us limit shopping hours, step up our cleaning and
sanitization measures, broaden access to convenient, no-touch shopping options
like pickup and delivery and restrict our entrances to one main door, where our
health ambassadors could help support customers.
Many of those same policies and processes are in place today, but as the curve
flattened over the last year, we felt comfortable making some careful
adjustments. Some of our decisions have been to turn something on or off, while
others have been more of an evolution. Our store hours would be a good example.
When the pandemic started to hit hard early last year, we restricted our
shopping hours. We said then that we would continue to stay very close to the
best science and guidance around the virus and make business choices aimed at
protecting the health and safety of our customers and associates. As COVID-19
cases leveled out, we expanded our closing time late last year and now, with the
number of fully vaccinated Americans growing higher every day, we believe we can
adjust hours once again.
Starting Saturday, June 5, store hours will expand to 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
unless otherwise mandated by state or local government.
Also, beginning July 3, we’ll be resuming pre-COVID hours for most of our
pharmacies and vision centers.
addition to expanded hours, we continue to carefully modify our polices and
strategy. Here’s a look at some additional adjustments we’ve made the last few
We removed the 20% capacity restriction
across all our stores. That said, we have asked store leadership to monitor
customer traffic during spikes in business (holiday weekends, weather
Because they were primarily supporting
compliance with mask mandates, those stores within an area that has lifted their
mask requirements can now reassign their health ambassador from the main
entrance back into another role in the store.
Also, based on the latest CDC guidance,
fully vaccinated associates no longer need to wear a mask at work and fully
vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask. Both
policies are subject to local laws and restrictions.
And, lastly, we added back seating to our
Auto Care Center waiting areas, with social distancing in mind, as well as
re-opened our fitting rooms where allowed.
Here’s a look at some of the key precautions we continue to take:
Protecting our Customers:
We still encourage customers who are not
fully vaccinated to wear masks or face coverings while shopping inside our
Associates are sanitizing shopping carts.
Hand sanitizer is available at the front
Sneeze guards remain at all registers.
Social distancing decals remain on the
Handwashing reminders are posted both on the
sales floor and in restrooms.
Our restrooms are cleaned and stocked with
supplies regularly, and we continue our stepped-up cleaning and sanitizing
measures across the store.
Protecting our Associates:
Associate (and supplier) health screenings
continue at each shift.
Associates who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks
or face coverings.
Our breakrooms and offices remain setup for social distancing.
Store meetings and huddles are run with social distancing in mind.
We continue to offer a COVID-19 emergency leave policy for
associates. In fact, all levels of COVID-19 emergency leave are being extended
through September 30, 2021.
As a reward for becoming fully vaccinated, we are offering a
one-time $75 bonus to U.S. field associates that choose to do so.
For more than a year, our associates have been nothing less than heroic, both in
their ability to continue to serve customers at a high level and through their
resiliency as they faced the changes in their communities and work environment.
But, we know the work is not finished, and there will likely be more change to
come. As a company, we will continue to maintain our focus and will remain
ready to react and adjust as needed in order to ensure we are doing our very
best to help keep our customers, associates and communities safe.