Walmart will require all 1.5 million of its United States employees to wear face masks starting Monday, the company said in a memo sent to stores late Friday. 

“We will begin requiring that associates wear masks or other face coverings at work,” said the memo, which was sent by Walmart US CEO John Furner and Sam’s Club CEO Kath McLay. “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.”

The memo said employees would be permitted to bring their own face masks to work, as long as they meet certain guidelines. The company will also provide workers with masks.

“We hope this step will promote safety and consistency across all of our facilities and be of comfort to our customers and members,” the memo said. 

Read the full memo: 

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.

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