Walmart, Target, Lowes, Kohl’s, Publix Update Mask Policies for Employees; Encourage customers to wear masks

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Walmart, Sam’s Club and Target will again require employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status in COVID hot spots.

Walmart and Sam’s Club, the nation’s largest retailers, announced on Friday that stores and clubs would require masks for employees effective immediately.

“Customers are strongly encouraged, but not required, to wear masks,” the company said in a statement to USA Today. Walmart notes that the mask requirement for employees “does not apply in all stores. Managers will refer to the CDC site every Monday for updates related to their county.”

The step to bring back the masks is 11 weeks After Walmart dropped the requirement to customers and a few days after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for masking Who advises people to get the corona virus vaccine, start wearing masks again indoors Areas with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19.

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New CDC mask guidance also recommends that people with underlying conditions that may make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus wear a mask, along with anyone living with vulnerable people.

“We remain focused on guidance issued by health experts, including the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, which was provided to USA TODAY,” Walmart said in a memo to employees. “We will continue to follow the latest CDC guidance, including fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, effective immediately.”

Walmart said managers will “post signage in our stores and clubs to remind customers and members about CDC’s revised guidance and encourage them to wear masks.”

In areas where state or local masks are mandatory, Walmart affiliates will be required to wear masks inside stores, clubs, distribution centers, fulfillment centers. and other facilities.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillan said Friday that corporate employees and management-level employees working in many facilities are required to be vaccinated by October 4, unless they have an approved exception. This requirement does not apply to associates who work in stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers.

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Target mask policy is back for employees

Target announced Monday that masks would be required for employees at some stores.

“Effective Tuesday, based on CDC’s updated guidance, we will require face coverings for our team members and strongly recommend face coverings for all guests in areas with substantial or high risk of transmission as defined by CDC,” spokeswoman Kayla Castaneda said. in a statement. “We will follow all local mandates, as we have during the pandemic, and will continue to closely monitor guidance from the CDC.”

Castaneda noted that the safety protocols, including cleaning measures and social distancing, are in place.

Target first needed masks At stores nationwide in August 2020, which was later than most retailers. When Target announced its first mask policy, the company said at the time that 80% of its stores already required face coverings due to local and state regulations.

Target dropped its need for masks again For vaccinated customers on May 17, days after the CDC’s last updated guidance to say that fully vaccinated Americans are no longer required to wear face masks. The retailer continues to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated employees and shoppers at all stores across the country.

Other retailers also swiftly changed policies in May.

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Apple was the first retailer to introduce a mask policy Back in place for all consumers, including those who have been fully vaccinated. However, Apple’s policy only applies to half of its 270 US stores.

Walmart wasn’t alone in changing its mask policy in May. other retailers Policies also changed quickly after the CDC last updated its guidance to say fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks indoors.

Since May, most states have supported mask requirements for people who are vaccinated and some have removed their mask mandates for everyone. Several local governments – including those in Los Angeles County and St. Louis – Recently vaccinated people began to need to wear masks again, citing concerns about the increasing delta version.

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Public made masks mandatory for employees from Monday

Publix announced Friday that regardless of vaccination status, all store employees will be required to “cover their noses and mouths over their faces inside any public place” beginning August 2.

“We encourage everyone to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Publix told a . said in Statement. “Customers and associates must stay physically away from others inside any public store.”

Publix previously updated its mask policy in May.

Kroger encourages everyone to wear a mask

Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, said its current mask guidance requires unaffiliated affiliates to wear masks and requests that unaffiliated customers wear masks in its stores and facilities.

“In light of the delta version and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those who have been vaccinated, to wear masks in our stores and facilities,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to comply with all state and local mandates and encourage all Americans to get vaccinated, including our allies.”

In addition to Kroger stores, the Cincinnati-based grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralph’s, Mariano’s, Fry’s, Smith’s, King Sopers, QFC and others.

Walmart will require a COVID vaccine for some employees

Walmart also announced Friday that it requires that all Home Office employees as well as management-level staff members who travel within the US Vaccination against COVID-19 can be done till 4 October.

Walmart is increasing the vaccine incentive for employees receiving the vaccine from $75 to $150. Employees who have already received the $75 incentive will receive another $75 in their August 19 paychecks.

“We continue to watch with deep concern about the evolution of the pandemic and the spread of variants, particularly the delta variant. We know vaccination is our solution to make a difference,” said the Walmart employee memo. “We’re urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many of you get vaccinated.”

The incentive program will be effective till October 4.

rise comes after President Joe Biden on Thursday asked states and cities Using federal rescue funds to provide a $100 payment as an incentive to individuals to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Kohl’s requires some store employees to wear masks

Starting Tuesday, August 3, Kohls said that store workers in counties with substantial or high-risk transmission would be required to wear masks in stores.

“We also recommend that customers in substantial and high-risk counties wear masks when shopping. As always, we are adhering to state and local mask mandates,” Kohl said Statement Monday. “We continue to encourage Kohl’s partners to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and are providing resources to help them do so.”

Lowe’s requires all employees to wear masks

Starting Monday, Lowe’s said in a statement sent to USA TODAY that all store employees “are required to wear masks indoors at all U.S. locations and while working at a customer’s home or business — regardless of vaccination status.” is required.

The home improvement chain said the store will have signs encouraging customers to wear masks and that free masks will be available to customers who request them.

The company also said it would “continue to comply with all state and local mask mandates.”

Contributions: Adriana Rodriguez, Jeanine Santucci and Kate Mabus, USA Today

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tycho on Twitter: @Kelly Tycho. For shopping news, tips and deals, join us Our Shopping Ninja Facebook Group.

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